Saving Title IX in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG – Today, five women members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives – Reps. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Valerie Gaydos (R- Allegheny), Dawn Keefer (York/Cumberland) and Stephanie Borowicz (R- Clinton/Centre) – held a press conference introducing House Bill 972
, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.
On June 23, 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in education programs and activities offered by entities receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women.
On Feb. 20, the current administration’s first day in office, an executive order was filed to require that biological males be permitted to compete on women’s sports teams in high school and college. That order violates Title IX and would effectively end girls’ and women’s competitive sports.
If courts were to uphold this executive order, any school that receives federal funding, including nearly every public high school, must either allow biological boys who self-identify as girls on to girls’ sports teams or face administrative action from the Department of Education.
Allowing biological males to compete in biological female’s sports would reverse nearly 50 years of advances for women.
In one year, 275 high school boys ran faster times than the lifetime best of World Champion sprinter Allyson Felix. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Olympic track-and-field coach Linda Blade told the author, “The leadership skills, all the benefits society gets from letting girls have their protected category so that competition can be fair, all the advances of women’s rights, that’s going to be diminished.”
In a 1996 case, U.S. v. Virginia, it was found that there are “inherent differences between men and women,” and that these differences, “remain cause for celebration but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial contracts on an individual’s opportunity.” We would argue, as was also written by Duke Law Center for Sports and Policy, that the biological differences between men and women that develop during puberty have life-long effects, including those most important for success in sports, such as strength, speed and endurance.
Even after a male or female athlete is given hormone blockers, testosterone levels are still elevated, and an unfair advantage persists.
Enacting House Bill 972 protects Title IX and will help promote gender equality by giving biological females a fair playing field when competing, thereby granting better access to scholarship opportunities and future success in life.
Representative Barbara Gleim
199th Legislative District
Representative Martina White
170th Legislative District
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Representative Dawn Keefer
92nd Legislative District
Representative Stephanie Borowicz
76th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives