The new campaign features many of the most recognizable male figures in the sport.
September 8, 2017 by Steve Sullivan in News with 5 comments
The Gender Equity Action Group, which coalesced last fall to pressure USA Ultimate to seek equitable coverage of the genders in their next media deal, announced a new project to encourage male players to be more vocal and engaged in discussing and supporting the movement for increased gender equity in the sport.
The “Step Up, Step Out” campaign, which launched Wednesday, promises a series of short selfie-style videos throughout the remainder of the 2017 club season showcasing male voices discussing their views on gender equity in the sport. The intro video — which features many of the most recognizable male players in the sport, including five members of this summer’s World Games roster and several others who represented the country at WUGC in 2016 — presents a montage of players calling for more action and accountability from their gender in actively participating in the movement, which has traditionally been led by women.
“It’s time for men to acknowledge their advantage and privilege in the ultimate community and use their position of power to work towards an equitable sport,” said Elliott Erickson, a spokesperson for the project.
The video promises to address the topic in a wide variety of contexts in the ultimate community, including how it relates to the AUDL, which the group cites in their press release as a key factor in further imbalancing gender equity in the sport.
The GEAG has stated that while the focus of the project on men is intentional, women have been and will continue to be involved in the project and future video installments.
Last September, the GEAG generated a statement calling for gender equity in media broadcasts that was signed by a vast majority of the top club players in the country. That earned them the opportunity to sit down with USAU leadership to discuss their demands, who then successfully lobbied ESPN. After building a coalition that achieved their aims at media equity, the GEAG now turns their focus more internally — at least for now.
The end goal of this project, as stated on partner site Upwind Ultimate is to “encourage males in our sport to share and understand perspectives, to model and encourage community conversation, and to inspire more action towards gender equity.” The group hopes the effort galvanizes the community and inspires others to produce additional resources that further the GEAG mission and values. The campaign has thusfar received generally positive feedback and support on social media channels.
Outside of encouraging men to join the conversation, the call to action and specific outcomes sought through the “Step Up, Step Out” campaign remain somewhat unclear. Organizers acknowledge that each individual involved “holds different opinions on how to advance gender equity in ultimate,” and that, “we as a community likely won’t be able to come up with the proper ‘solutions.'” The group doesn’t expect more concrete goals to emerge from this video series, but are seeking to expand the influence and support for the GEAG ahead of other potential actions in the future.
Not present so far are any male voices that disagree with the stated mission of the group.
“As for those who don’t support the GEAG mission, hopefully they will be open to having conversations through this project to better understand their position and what about the GEAG mission they don’t agree with,” said Erickson. “These conversations are for everyone, no matter how they feel and where on the spectrum of involvement they fall.”
The next video in the series is expected within the next week, though the group has yet to disclose what the first topic of discussion will be.