NCWGE National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education

Immediate Release: May 21, 2003
Contact: Camden Richards or Margot Friedman at 202-588-5180
Ashley Carr at 202-785-7745

Over 100 Groups Urge Congress to Reject Efforts to Roll-Back 30 Years of Progress for Women and Girls in Sports

(Washington, DC) – On the eve of the WNBA season and Annika Sorenstam's debut as the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) and over one hundred other women’s rights, education, civil rights, religious, labor, and advocacy organizations are calling upon Congress to urge the current Administration to reject changes to Title IX policies that would eradicate three decades of progress in athletics for women. In a letter delivered today to every member of Congress, the groups outline the serious attack on Title IX athletics policies.

“The Administration is considering proposals that would dramatically reduce sports opportunities and scholarships women and girls are entitled to receive under current law,” said Leslie T. Annexstein, Vice Chair of NCWGE and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “Title IX policies have been in place through Republican and Democratic administrations and have been upheld by all eight of the federal appeals courts that have considered them. Equality has not been achieved and Congress must urge the President and Secretary Paige to reject any changes to Title IX athletics policies.”

In February, the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics recommended sweeping changes to Title IX athletics policies to President Bush and Education Secretary Rod Paige. Two Commissioners filed a Minority Report that dissented from a number of the recommendations and disavowed any interpretation of the recommendations that would weaken protections for women and girls in sports. The Secretary has refused to treat this report as an official Commission submission.

“Women and girls, men and boys, have mobilized to tell President Bush and Secretary Paige to leave Title IX alone,” said Jamie Fasteau, NCWGE Chair and Senior Lobbyist/Government Relations Manager at the American Association of University Women. “The groups represented on this letter demonstrate the broad and diverse support for current Title IX athletics policies. We urge Congress to join us.”

The public overwhelmingly supports current Title IX policies. A USA Today/CNN Poll in January 2003 found that seven of ten adults think Title IX should be strengthened or left alone. The WNBA is circulating a petition in support of Title IX that already has over 25,000 signatures, which include current and former NBA and WNBA players and celebrities.

Although female participation in athletics has grown, female athletes continue to face discrimination. For example, although women are 56% of the undergraduates in our colleges and universities, female athletes receive only 42% of the opportunities to play. At the high school level, female athletes still do not receive equal opportunities to play sports, and when they do play, receive inferior facilities, equipment and other benefits.

For a copy of the letter to Congress, please click here, or to learn more about the threats to Title IX visit,,