True Gender Equity?

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Just wondering what the VUL rules are regarding gender ratios in league play. If the receiving team decides to play 4 women & 3 men, is the other team obliged to match? (assuming they are able to)

Am I correct that UPA rules state that receiving team chooses and the opposition must match?

Should the VUL consider adopting this into league play?

Teams in the VUL are not required to put 4 women to gender match.

Unless there is a massive demographic shift in the VUL membership, I really hope the VUL does not implement a gender matching rule.

I'll echo Colin's statements. There's no 'gender matching' rule.

Further, the UPA 11th edition rules have absolutely no mention of gender whatsoever. Any
gender-based rules (such as the 3 of each gender rule) are created by the leagues and
tournaments.

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This post may be long. Every year some few put forth the idea that a rule change will at all
help whatever gender issues may exist in the league. It's an idea that's flawed, and it ignores
the things that can be done.

With the gender ratio of the league greater than 4 men to every 3 women, that means that
women on average get more playing time (often more than they want!). If you want to
increase the overall female to male points played ratio, you've got to recruit more women
into the league.

I see a lot of talk every year about supporting/coaching/fostering the 'women in ultimate',
but almost none about getting more women into ultimate in the first place. It makes me
wonder why recruiting is completely off the radar.

In the league right now, men are at the disadvantage when it comes to the amount of playing
time (see below about why there's still a problem here). As a result, gender matching on the
line simply wouldn't work much of the time, nor would it be fair the majority of the time. It
wouldn't work on a team with not enough women to match or where the women didn't want
to play as much without rest. Even with 8 guys and 6 girls, it wouldn't be fair to the majority
of players. For example, if that team with 8 guys and 6 girls is forced to play 3 guys and 4
girls, that means instead of all 14 members having equal playing time, now 6 players on the
team will be getting 78% more playing time than the other 8.

So, what of the team made up of 8 women and 6 men? Well, they should be playing 4
women and 3 men (to make playing time fair), even against teams playing 4 men and 3
women. Sometimes that may mean that they are at a 'disadvantage' from winning, but that's
a question of skill not gender.

The VUL already has a gender rule which overreaches it's demographic (I think that's a good
thing). However, changing the rule to overreach further is not the way to improve 'gender
equity'.

Gender matching on the line is not the place to start improving overall 'gender equity'. There
are other problems that need to be fixed first. Namely 1) the number of women playing the
game, and 2) the number of women enjoying playing the game. Naturally, the more women
enjoying playing the game, the less loss, and the greater number of women playing the
game. So one of the first places to start is figuring out how to make ulty more enjoyable for
women (in parallel with that we should change the fact that little is done to get new women
into the sport).

Sure guys have less play time than girls, but I'd argue that males in the league get by far the
greater amount of quality playing time. That is to say, on far too many teams, the women
are 'gender requirement fillers' first and team members second.

This is a problem in pretty much any coed sport. Whether softball, soccer, hockey, ultimate,
etc when you have a coed team, the males can tend (we're talking about general trends here
not the specifics of your team/s) to overpower the females. Males often will run the team,
make the strategy decisions, and often overlook the women during play. Rather than being
sexism, I think this is more often than not 'skillism'. Competitive men (and women)
frequently only look at what's best for the victory, not what's necessarily best for the team.
Whatever your gender, if you find yourself on a team that cares more about victory than your
enjoyment, maybe you don't want to be on that team.

I think this problem in the VUL could be improved upon, and I'd like to see ideas to help fix
it. One of the easiest ways to start to change the problem is for the women in the league who
are being marginalized to realize that they have a lot of power over the team (the men can't
play without them), and to do something about that. However, historically that just hasn't
happened (why not!? There are a lot of teams out there that will treat you like a teammate,
go find one!). I think that what's needed is a conscious shift in doctrine pushed out to the
league making it "ok" for the woman being marginalized to stand up for herself, or to bail on
the team full of chumps and join a team who will treat them as equals. Without that push,
there's probably not going to be much progress on that front.

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While I think that the VUL would be much more interesting if there were a balance of genders
in the membership (and therefore a balance of points played by males and females), I don't
really see that as a viable goal. There's simply more men than women that will likely ever
want to play coed ultimate. No, I think the goal for "true gender equity" should be equal
participation at whatever particular ratio a team or point being played is made up of.

A bit long-winded, but most of your points are valid. I agree that the VUL demographic is mostly men....and is not reflected in the 4-3 ratio, thus resulting in what some have called 'the tyranny of estrogen'

True gender equity is not equal participation based on the makeup of a team.....it is full equality between genders. based on your definition, the VUL would be playing 5-2.....which, in my opinion, would serve to further marginalize women in the sport.

As for teams just filling their 'gender quota' I think this happens more at the mid-lower division levels. Most teams in div 1-2 know that you must have decent women, who are involved in the play, in order to be successful.

Scenario: If a team knew that they would possibly have to match gender in a game, wouldn't there be even more incentive to recruit more women and involve them in the play? Consequently team rosters would reflect this new reality (otherwise they'd be at a disadvantage)

All I know is that our high school league (Fraser Valley) adopted this rule years ago and have seen a big increase in 1) the number of girls participating, 2) more girls being involved in the play and 3) More skill development amongst the girls.

My bias, the guys are our team are good looking but old, and our women kick ass! ;) I'd love to be able to play 4W-3M for a change and not force one of our women to mark up or be marked by a guy.

"based on your definition, the VUL would be playing 5-2"

I think I was pretty clear in suggesting that 'true gender equity' (a loaded yet ambiguous
phrase) does not come from statistics of points played. No to mention the fact that I
mentioned that the current overreaching 4-3 rule is a good thing. That line above is baseless
and incorrect. I just want to make sure there's no confusion on that point.

Moving on...

"As for teams just filling their 'gender quota' I think this happens more at the mid-lower
division levels. Most teams in div 1-2 know that you must have decent women, who are
involved in the play, in order to be successful."

Couldn't agree more. Actually I think many teams stagnate in the lower divisions because
their higher skilled women leave the team for another on which they will be treated better.
You'll see in the next few weeks the same there are some teams calling for girls that call for
girls every year. I bet they never wonder why they're chronically short on women.

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"Scenario: If a team knew that they would possibly have to match gender in a game,
wouldn't there be even more incentive to recruit more women and involve them in the play?
Consequently team rosters would reflect this new reality (otherwise they'd be at a
disadvantage)"

While I think that increasing recruitment is needed (on a league-wide front), I don't think this
would be a good idea. Teams already do an awful lot of recruiting to keep their rosters able
to sustain 3 women for every point, often unsuccessfully. Remember that rule already
overreaches our demographic (again a good thing). Changing the rules to overreach further,
would only cause lots of trouble for the majority of teams. Best case scenario is that teams
increase their roster sizes, reducing playing time for all players. Worst case scenario is that
teams aren't able to increase their roster sizes and have to match gender. Being forced to
match genders when your roster can't support it isn't just "a disadvantage", it's not possible
for some teams and unfair for the majority.

Ultimately, I don't see increasing the number of points a team is forced to play women as the
way to increase involvement of all players. In fact, I don't see the number of points played
by men/women as having any problems with it at all. While it would be interesting if the
people who play ultimate were numerically balanced gender-wise, currently that's not the
case.

So, since the ratio of points played is fair numerically, but the problem is quality of
participation, why focus on changing the numerical ratio? There's a small chance that change
will affect the real problem, but there's a definite chance that it will introduce other problems.

"All I know is that our high school league (Fraser Valley) adopted this rule years ago and
have seen a big increase in 1) the number of girls participating, 2) more girls being involved
in the play and 3) More skill development amongst the girls."

What was the gender breakdown of the available pool of players? I'm guessing it was a lot
closer to 50-50 than the VUL is.

I saw a game in Saskatoon two years ago that one team had five girls at the field who were all tall, in shape and were better than most of the guys on the field. The guys on their team didn't look like their regular guys or the guys just weren't as good as most of the guys in the league. That team saw the other team had much weaker girls and better guys. The team with the better girls decided to play four girls every point and insisted the other team match up. The team with the better girls destroyed the other team. It is situations like this that I would argue that you should never have to match up. Every team at the beginning of the year has the opportunity to make up their roster any way they choose, as long as there are at least 3 of every gender on the field. One team shouldn't be disadvantaged by the other team not having enough players show up.

What are thoughts on a men's night single header league? I don't know much about VUL yet or the logistics, but with all the men posting that they are looking for teams, would it not help out to have one night where it's just guys? It could be a hat league or a sign up league. I'm not sure how many would be interested, how the field allocations would work etc. but from a macro point of view it seems to solve a lot of problems.

An additional complexity to the gender question is that of women being significantly more particular about their playtime. I find on my team that if I have more than 6 women out to play on a given night, they are annoyed that they won't get enough playtime, whereas the men are sitting there with 2 1/2 lines and don't seem to care.

I am always encouraging new or inexperienced women to let their teams know in a very direct way that they expect to touch the disc during game play regularly and anything else is unacceptable. I think that communication is important but intimidating for a number of newer female players.

Also, at lower levels men tend to be a little less careful around women (I know, gross over generalization) and after being smoked by a big guy running at them, they become a little reluctant. It almost seems like having new women start on a higher level team is better and then have them play on lower teams once they have some confidence and some skills.

Guys are ok with having 2.5 lines? I think it really depends on the players you have on your team, and where in the season you are. As the season progresses, people are in better shape and so prefer more play time. But from my experience, nobody's happy with 2.5 lines unless you're playing very competitively (ie: probably not VUL) or at a tourney when you're playing up to 7 games in two days.

I'd also figure that if a woman starts at a higher level, she's unlikely to see the lower levels. Why would she move down when she can learn and get thrown to, rather than ignored and run over (gross-ish generalisation)?