Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: Women and Girls Deserve Equal Participation Opportunities in Athletics

April 7, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today joined more than a dozen Members of Congress in a bipartisan hearing on Title IX, the landmark civil rights law that prohibits education and athletic programs that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of gender. Professional athletes and Olympic medalists Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Dominique Dawes were among those speaking on enforcement of Title IX.

The Secretary of Education’s Commission on Opportunities in Athletics recently issued recommendations to Education Secretary Roderick Paige on the enforcement of Title IX. Some of the recommendations that the Secretary has agreed to consider could severely undermine equal participation opportunities in athletics for women and girls. Pelosi released the following statement:

“For 30 years, Title IX has taken down the ‘No Girls Allowed’ signs from school locker rooms, shop classes, and career counseling centers. Young women today believe they can do anything. And they can. They are doctors, astronauts, and professional athletes, and they fighting in the field to protect our country.

“We should not undermine this belief by telling the girls of America that they do not deserve an equal playing field. Instead, let us continue to support this belief by fulfilling and sustaining the promise of Title IX.

“Undermining Title IX now and threatening women’s rights to play sports is not the answer to ending the elimination of male sports programs.

“We need to find ways to strengthen Title IX, not undermine it. 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."


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