|House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter, Olympic soccer star Julie Foudy|
Today, as we celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day, we encourage girls across America to Succeed in Sports, and Lead in Life. We celebrate this day at a critical juncture. Last year marked the 30th Anniversary of Title IX, the landmark civil rights law that ended gender discrimination in all education programs.
Title IX is the reason that we can celebrate the participation of women and girls in sports today.
Title IX ensures that the full range of educational opportunity is available to all of our children. For 30 years, Title IX has taken down the No Girls Allowed signs from our schools locker rooms, shop classes, and career counseling centers. Today, because of Title IX, we are also taking down the signs from corporate boardrooms.
While this is an occasion for celebration, it is also one for grave concern. The Presidential Commission on Opportunity in Athletics recently submitted recommendations to Secretary of Education Rod Paige that could severely undermine Title IX standards.
These recommendations come at a time when high school girls are still receiving 1.1 million fewer athletic participation opportunities than high school boys, when college women are receiving 58,000 fewer athletic participation opportunities than college men; and when female athletes receive over $133 million less each year in athletic scholarships.
We need to find ways to strengthen Title IX, not undermine it. Threatening womens rights to play sports is not the answer to ending the elimination of male sports programs. If athletic budgets are being cut, then budgetary solutions to equalize funding among all sports is a better way to ensure that all our young people have the option to play the sport of their choosing.
As a mother of four adult daughters, I have seen the results of Title
IX. Some are visible, like the growing number of girls on soccer fields and
basketball courts. Equally important, though less tangible, is the message that
Title IX sends to women and girls: your education is crucial and your future
Young women today believe they can do anything. And they can.
We should not undermine this belief by telling the girls of American
that they dont deserve an equal playing field. Instead, let us continue
to support this belief by fulfilling and sustaining the promise of Title IX.
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