Gender equality lessons from a 12-year-old girl

Sexist Comment

Geauga County Maple Leaf, Thursday, July 19th, 2018 Vol. 25 No. 29, p. 7

Julianne Speyer is a 12-year-old American girl that can teach us a couple of things about equality,  fairness, and standing up for what we believe.

This year Julianne attended the 4th of July parade in Chesterland, Ohio. She was marching with the Girls Scout Troop behind the Boy Scouts when she heard the announcer uttering a sexist comment. Decided to speak up, she wrote a letter to the local newspaper that went viral. Reading her letter and watching her short TV interview, I’m in awe of Julianne’s personal values and ability to communicate her ideas.

What I found less uplifting was the reply from the organizers

“There was an unfortunate misunderstanding of two unrelated comments. The announcer is a volunteer and made an observation that participants were enjoying the parade, with no disrespect intended.”

Hence, we can conclude that they believe that (a) all the fuss was caused by Julianne wrongly making the link between two disparate remarks, (b) as the announcer was a volunteer nobody is responsible, and (c) an apology is only due when is disrespect “is” intended.

I’m confident that in the future Julianne will continue to speak up when she is mansplained, bropropriated, or passed over for a promotion due to her manager’s unconscious biases. After all, she already knows that the absence of intention to disrespect is no absolution.

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