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Colbert: Will Women Allow Their Sports to Die?

women in sports league and or team in the southern part of the sunshine state

Womens soccer league, somewhere in South Florida; unknown city or town.Undated photo. (Vilaimages|Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 16 February 2024 03:49 PM EST

OPINION 

When it comes to the landmark 1972 Title IX, Will enough women stand up?
​Or will we allow men to kill women’s sports altogether?

As we celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day this week, it's paramount to reflect on the profound impact of Title IX, landmark legislation instrumental in championing gender equality in sports.

It was actually enacted in 1972.

Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program receiving federal funding.

This was not merely a legislative act; it was a bold stride toward fairness, ensuring that girls and women had equal opportunities to participate in sports, an arena from which they had long been marginalized.

But now, we must ask are women’s sports really protected?

The answer is obvious. Women’s sports are more vulnerable than ever.

Before Title IX, female athletes faced stark inequities: fewer opportunities, minimal funding, and scant media attention.

The legislation catalyzed a seismic shift, leading to exponential growth in women's sports participation at all levels.

This growth wasn't just about numbers; it was about the recognition of women's sports, the professionalization of female athletics, and, importantly, the breaking down of societal barriers that pigeonholed women's roles in society.

The success stories in that regard are numerous and inspirational.

Pioneering women like Katherine Switzer, who dared run in the Boston Marathon in 1967 had to battle from getting removed from the course.

Then there is tennis great Billie Jean King, who not only excelled on the court but who also fought tirelessly for gender equality in sports.

Let's also consider the Williams sisters: Venus and Serena, who redefined excellence in tennis. They inspire countless young girls, and are testaments to the doors that Title IX opened.

These figures have not only been athletes but have also served as role models.

They've showcased the perseverance, excellence, and strength of women in sports.

Yet, as we laud these achievements, we must also confront a contentious issue that threatens to undermine the very foundation of fairness and equality Title IX sought to establish: the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports.

The debate is highly polarized. And how much have scientific discussions of the physiological differences between biological males and females has there genuinely been?

On one hand, the spirit of Title IX is to ensure no one is denied the opportunity to compete because of their sex.

On the other, there's a growing concern that allowing biological males, who have undergone male puberty, to compete in women's sports may compromise the fairness and safety in competition, potentially impacting scholarships and the success that female athletes have fought hard to achieve.

Ask the North Carolina high school volleyball player who suffered a concussion and neck injury when a transgender athlete spiked a ball in her face.

The fate of Title IX and the pathway for female posterity in sport is increasingly intertwined with the decisions of more liberal courts and appellate courts.

The evolving legal landscape and the whims of the Executive Branch pose both opportunities and challenges for the protection and advancement of women’s sports.

The threat, or perhaps the promise, depending on one’s perspective, lies in how these courts balance the principles of fair competition that does not disadvantage female athletes.

  • We all understand the science behind the sexes.
  • We understand the significant performance differences between men and women.

Why isn’t anyone curious as to why transgender women aren’t competing in male sports?

This is a pivotal moment, one requiring vigilance, advocacy, and a nuanced understanding of the issues at play to ensure that the strides made in female athletics are not just preserved but built upon.

Our actions today can secure women’s sports for tomorrow.

Preserving the integrity of women's sports as a level playing field where success is determined by skill, training, and determination, not by inherent physiological advantages is paramount.

Twelve-time All-American, five-time SEC Champion, and two-time Olympic trials qualifier, Riley Gaines deserved better at the peak of her career than to share the pool and podium with a transgender swimmer ranked 462nd in the men’s division.

Reflecting on my own journey as a highly competitive athlete during my high school and college years, I'm reminded of the intrinsic value sports hold beyond accolades and scholarships.

Although I never achieved a scholarship for my athletic abilities, the sheer joy and fulfillment derived from competing were reward enough.

Title IX was a groundbreaking step toward equality in sports, but the journey is far from over.

As we continue to navigate these evolving challenges, let's remember the pioneering spirit of those who fought for women's rights in athletics.

In this Olympic year, 2024, we must remember that sports, at their core, are about the celebration of human effort, dedication, and spirit.

Whatever the approach, the goal should remain the same: to empower all athletes while maintaining the integrity of women's sports.

It's up to us — women from all walks of life, to stand together, to continue that legacy, ensuring that sports remain a powerful platform for empowering women and girls, celebrating achievements, and, most importantly, championing equality for all.

(A related column on this subject may be found here.)

Tamara Colbert, is CEO of MT6Media.com, and a global public relations strategist, communications expert, talk radio host and Producer. She has successfully led strategic campaigns and high-performing teams for Fortune 500 companies, C-suite executives, and global organizations, as well as documentary production in more than 70 countries.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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It's up to us, women from all walks of life, to stand together, to continue that legacy, ensuring that sports remain a powerful platform for empowering women and girls, celebrating achievements, and, most importantly, championing equality for all.
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Friday, 16 February 2024 03:49 PM
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