women talk back

Women Talk Back

(Undated, but probably 1975-1976) A report on the CWLU Outreach Committee's work in battling discrimination in Chicago's parks. Originally published in the newspaper Secret Storm. from Secret Storm (undated but probably 1975-1976)

(Editors Note: The CWLU workgroup Secret Storm organized sports teams in the Chicago Parks against the opposition of people who felt women did not belong in sports.This article from their newspaper-also called Secret Storm- is a report on the progress made in the parks.) 

Even though your entry fee has been paid, which ranges. from $150 - $200, that alone doesn't entitle your women's softball team to voice an opinion or raise a question. Each year at the beginning of the season, the men's and women's leagues at the Chicago Parks have league meetings, which supposedly entitle them to discuss the rules and regulations. A change can be called for and a vote is usually taken. This year, however the Welles Park supervisor didn't consider it necessary to have a women's softball league meeting, but did find it justifiable to raise the women's teams’ entry fees.

But if you were on one of the women's teams at Horner Park you were told to stand along side the wall while the men’s meeting continued. You probably heard something like this in the brief 15 minutes that were allotted to the women. 'If you aren't satisfied with the way things are now, we will gladly refund your money and just drop the women's league.' Meanwhile, the men were receiving their game schedules, and the women were being told that theirs would be ready in a week or so (we were supposed to begin playing the following week.)

Horner Park did a little back-bending this year, but just far enough to pocket a mere $1200 from the eight women's teams that play there in a league. We understand though, that this being the first year women have played softball at Horner, John Parker, Park Supervisor, has to be given time (but how much?) to sit down and consider that women's teams are equal with the men's and Little Leagues.

We spoke with many members of the women's teams at various parks and found, interestingly enough; that procedures differ a great deal. For instance, Welles found it easy enough to up the women's fee to $165 from $135, but couldn't afford the time, to have a meeting among the teams.

Kosciuszko Park seemed to have the nicest people employed at their fieldhouse. It was the only park out of those we went to that actually has a female supervisor of the women's softball league. All the others apparently felt that only men were capable of doing some light organizing. Why, Grosse Park doesn't even feel that women umpires would be able to handle the women's games, 'cause ‘women are just too emotional.' But Grosse Park hurriedly pointed out that the DePaul University team, which plays in the Grosse women's league, umpires at Horner Park. We have yet to see them. Do they umpire at Little League games?

Many women have small children and can only sit by and watch their husbands play. Aren't the parks for the whole family? These women would love to play softball and use the facilities at their neighborhood park, but unfortunately there's no organized childcare inside the fieldhouses. It’s been hard for the women with small children who do manage to play on a softball team. They too, would appreciate some childcare. Then they could relax enjoy the game instead of always looking around to make sure children are OK.

A member of the Covettes a women's team which plays Welles Park on Wednesday nights told us that out of 15 women her team, only two have children. One has children old enough take care of themselves and one has a husband who watches the baby. The lack of child care means it's very hard for young mothers to play ball. The women are there who want to play and take part in other activities at their local parks, the sponsors fees are easy enough, to obtain therefore all the park district has to do is provide childcare and take half the interest in women that they take in men boys, and then the parks might really serve all the citizens of Chicago.