In their renewed attempt to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, Senate Democrats are quick to erase 50-plus years of progress and opportunity for women.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, shamelessly mocked the accomplishments of thousands of female athletes as he joked Feb. 28 about the “fate of field hockey” during his committee’s hearing on the revived Equal Rights Amendment.
Don’t worry, Durbin did admit that female athletes “would probably feel very strongly about the issue, if they are field hockey players.”
As a collegiate volleyball player who has sacrificed much of my life to earn an athletic scholarship, I humbly request an end to this disrespect for female accomplishments in competitive sports.
The Left continues to use the radical, and previously failed, ERA to eradicate female opportunity and protection. Radical policies that redefine sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity confuse the meaning of sex. Is it fluid? Is it fixed in biology?
But now, through the ERA, the Left is attempting to remove all legal distinctions between men and women. These very distinctions have given thousands of women a place in sports, myself included.
While still in middle school, I made it a personal goal to become a college athlete. Today, I am a junior NCAA volleyball player in Tennessee competing on an athletic and academic scholarship.
Tennessee protects my privilege as a female athlete to play only against other females, though other states happily allow men to invade these spaces in the name of “inclusion.”
I worked and sacrificed during much of my time in high school for this achievement. I trained hours a day, pushing myself to great lengths.
I never got to go to prom, missed family vacations, and would travel hours each week to play for a national club’s team in pursuit of my middle school dream.
Yet, the sheer possibility of playing women’s sports in college was acknowledged only in 1972, when Congress’ passage of Title IX guaranteed equal opportunity through sex-segregated sports.
Title IX not only included funding for women’s sports. It ultimately validated the beauty of sex-based characteristics, showing potential and promise exist in both men and women.
Although women’s sports weren’t explicitly denied before Congress passed Title IX, men consumed nearly every roster spot, scholarship, and championship opportunity.
Title IX provides opportunities through women’s sports for female athletes to compete, excel, and celebrate their athletic achievements. Women have made significant strides in the world of sports in recent decades, and their success continues to inspire and motivate new generations of athletes.
In my sport, volleyball, these accomplishments are made possible only because of sex-based distinctions. Not only do men and women bring different levels of physical strength to the game, but the structure of the net reflects this difference, too. A men’s volleyball net stands 7.5 inches taller than a female’s net.
“So, if women had a net at the same height as men, it would put them at a big disadvantage,” international volleyball player Jiri Popelk wrote in July 2021. “We wouldn’t see as many attacks; it would be more of a lob over a high net to the other side. Also, a lot of women wouldn’t jump with their hands over the net, they wouldn’t block. Women’s jumping ability is lower.”
However, if a man were to play the game using a regulation women’s volleyball net, there would be no stopping him. This happened to me in high school. During my recruitment, I played against a male athlete who identified as female, with a net 7.5 inches shorter than he should have been using as a boy.
We hoped to show off the skills we spent years refining. Instead, the college recruiters watched the boy slam the ball in our faces time after time. Not only was it athletically humiliating, it was degrading as a woman to watch a man invade our space right before our eyes.
This is happening across the country. Although Tennessee protects my privilege as a female college athlete to play only against other females, other states happily allow men to invade these spaces in the name of “inclusion.”
By now, we have all heard of Lia Thomas, the male college athlete who switched from the men’s swim team to the women’s swim team after “identifying” as a woman. He rose to the top of the women’s leadership boards right away.
The redefinition of sex to include gender identity is bad enough. Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would take this even further. Male athletes no longer would have to identify as a woman to compete in a woman’s sport. He simply would choose what category he would like to compete in.
Why? Because the Equal Rights Amendment would erase all legal distinctions between men and women. Despite any biological advantage, male athletes would claim that denying them the opportunity to compete on a women’s team is discrimination.
Women’s sports depend on sex-based distinctions. Without these distinctions, males’ athletic ability would diminish females’ opportunities and achievements. That is the ultimate result of the ERA.
If Congress allows the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate crucial distinctions between men’s and women’s sports, men will dominate roster spots previously protected for female inclusion.
Women’s sports not only rely on sex-specific protections, but provide key opportunities for women. These include paying for eligible girls’ education, which teaches lessons about leadership, teamwork, and sacrifice and, most importantly, that there is value and beauty in being a woman.
For some reason, though, liberal ERA supporters now want to turn the clock back 50 or more years. The idea that women “aren’t concerned” about men competing in women’s sports just doesn’t make sense.
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