Jamie Allard: It’s time to protect women’s sports with SB 140

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By JAMIE ALLARD

It is in our very recent history that women — and the men who champion them — have had to fight for women’s rights and equality in our society. Can you believe it has barely been 100 years since women were granted the right to vote? Since then, we have come a long way, with legislation supporting and protecting women’s rights and protecting us from discrimination. Our culture has embraced and advanced the notion that women deserve the same opportunities as men. And we have made leaps and bounds in opportunities available to women and girls to participate in sports.  

Girls who participate in sports reap huge benefits for a lifetime. They gain confidence, good habits, strong bodies and bones, and have a lower chance of osteoporosis, breast cancer, and depression. They have a more positive body image and higher levels of self-esteem. They grow into strong women who are leaders and role models in our communities. They carry the lessons learned far beyond the playing field. And thanks to Title IX, their right to equal opportunities in sports and education is federally protected. 

Title IX states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” We can thank our very own Senator Ted Stevens for this legislation which has protected and promoted women in sports since its passage in 1972. The impact of this legislation is profound. Before 1972, one in 27 girls participated in sports. That number is now two in five! Girls’ participation in high school sports has increased by roughly 1000 percent. It has opened the door to more sports scholarship opportunities for women and for women to turn their sport into a career. We could even say that the effects of more women in sports has rippled out across all sectors, breaking glass ceilings and elevating women as equals in our nation and even around the world.  

So what happens when a biological male enters the ring of women’s sports? Being biologically bigger, stronger, faster, their physical advantage over women is anything but equal. It takes our nearly level playing field, which we fought so hard to achieve, and reduces it to women finishing second again. Women have worked hard to get where we are today. To set us back 100 years is unacceptable. 

When there were threatened changes to Title IX, Sen. Ted Stevens said: “Having lived this long with Title IX, I’m going to urge Congress not to support any changes that could have an adverse effect on the progress that has already been made under Title IX. We want more progress.” Stevens was the guardian angel of women in athletics. He would not stand by and allow culture wars to rob our girls and women of the progress we have fought so hard to gain. 

As a mom of two daughters, I would like to encourage the State legislature in a bipartisan effort to support SB 140 “An Act relating to school athletics, recreation, athletic teams, and sports.” This bill acknowledges the biological differences and disparities between men and women and requires students to play according to their biological sex. Our girls deserve a fair playing field. They deserve the chance to win first place, scholarships, and gold medals.

Like Sen. Stevens, I will be a champion for our girls and women. I have endured the discrimination and have conquered obstacles, like my Mom and grandmother and great-grandmother before me, so that my daughters don’t have to. I don’t do this for me, I do it for them. We fight for all of our daughters. Expecting women to be physically equal to men is not equality. Equality is giving women the same opportunities as men. But if forced to physically compete against biological males, women will be disadvantaged once again. If men can compete as “better” versions of women, all of our progress for equality is dead. 

Jamie Allard is an Anchorage Assembly member who represents Chugiak/Eagle River. She is running for State House.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Luckily we have Jamie championing for all of us ladies and the women who come after. She will continue to earn votes from our household.

  2. Into the weeds, and our Constitutionally defined process for changing the law. The sponsors have clearly done some good work, and supporters have reason to be encouraged. Why? 1) There is a House version, H 230 with multiple sponsors and only two referrals: H Education Committee and H Judiciary. 2) The Senate version SB 140 has a few sponsors too, and only one Committee of referral: S Education. Understand that hearings in Committees require public notice, which takes time, scheduling of those who will testify, recording and eventually vote and advancement to the next committee, which I should note also includes Rules Committee prior to scheduling for Floor discussion. As we can all know if we read the rules.
    So letters and emails in support will help because there is a good chance this can pass. Few bill do, of course. Mostly because the bill sponsor does not cross the aisle to find additional support. Especially if the bill is potentially controversial. Can the sponsor, and supporters of the bill gain the votes of a majority of the Legislature? I call it base 32 math: 11 in the Senate and 21 in the house. Now is when political prognosticators start their count. And sponsors should have a pretty well defined Chit sheet, focused first on committee members, and with the signatures of supporting Legislators rapidly approaching 32.

  3. I have said it before, and I will say it again: We do not protect our women (and girls) because they are weak. We protect our women (and girls) because they are valuable.
    .
    AYE on SB140, AYE on H 230
    (Thank you Bruce Campbell for the insightful synopsis)

  4. Yes, it needs to move. Then people will know who vote against it in the house. Better to be awake than woke. Let the tyrants be exposed to the parents just like in Virginia.

  5. Being biologically bigger, stronger, faster, their physical advantage over women is anything but equal. It takes our nearly level playing field, which we fought so hard to achieve, and reduces it to women finishing second again.

    Makes me laugh. Why don’t we separate women and men in chess as well? Men dominate women in mathematical pursuits as well. “Anything but equal!” doesn’t make a lot of sense, since yes, women and men are simply not equal and never have been, and sports simply makes this obvious.

    Why? Sports are pretty much a male thing, designed by men and for men. Sure, gymnastics or other girl sports designed to show off women’s looks or grace, but traditional sports are mostly just a testosterone test, so most girls who ain’t butch just ain’t into it.

    But this discussion is really a funny thing for conservatives to chew on, as most traditional conservatives have never been big fans of women sports anyway. And fans of girls sports are mostly just men with daughters who lack sons and push their poor daughters into it. There must be nothing more unnatural (and non-conservative) than a girl trying to play basketball (knee injuries, anyone?) or baseball (girls have not simply evolved to throw) or play hockey (missing teeth?). For those women who want to do it, let them compete with men.

    And as the demographics of the world are not supporting female sports, either. Basically people into women’s sports just don’t have many kids…so women’s sports are not from cultures that are growing. Makes sense, as women who are into kids are generally not into women’s sports.

  6. Well said Jamie Allard. Now send that to Senator Holland as he needs some serious guidance.

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