International Women’s Day is a day committed to celebrating women’s achievements and seeking gender equality. International Women’s Day 2023 is Wednesday March 8, this year celebrating #EmbraceEquity. Somehow gender equality has become something entirely different – “gender equity.”
As the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates “equity” rather than “equality,” their message is devoid of any acknowledgment or discussion of how transgender [male] athletes are competing as women in biological female sports.
“The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough,” International Women’s Day organizers say. “People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.”
Ohhhh, I get it. “Inclusion.”
“We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion,” IWD says. “Forging gender equity isn’t limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are incredibly important for the social, economic, cultural, and political advancement of women.”
Ohhhh. “Forging gender equity” is more important than celebrating being a woman, being female.
As for women in sports, IWD’s mission says “To celebrate women athletes and applaud when equality is achieved in pay, sponsorship and visibility.” But nowhere on their website do I see the young woman defending women’s rights in sports – Riley Gaines, the former University of Kentucky swimmer who last year spoke out against biological male athletes competing as “women” in women’s sports.
“Gaines became a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer and a five-time SEC champion,” the New York Post reported. “But last year, the integrity of her sport — and female sports as a whole — was called into question when University of Pennsylvania swimmer Thomas, who had competed on the school’s men’s team her freshman, sophomore and junior years, began shattering records in the women’s category.”
As Gaines said, “This issue wasn’t about a trans-individual. It was about female gender equity. To honor those women who fought tirelessly and valiantly for decades for its cause.”
International Women’s Day needs a lesson on Title IV, and should start with a lesson from Riley Gaines, who has no problem identifying the problem. “There’s a 6-foot-4 biological man dropping his pants and watching us undress, and we were exposed to male genitalia,” she recalled on Fox News’ “America Reports.” “Not even probably a year, two years ago, this would have been considered some form of sexual assault, voyeurism.”
“Upon her return to the University of Kentucky, Riley received the Southern Eastern Conference’s (SEC) highest honor for her academic contributions (scholar athlete) and community service,” her website reports.
“Next, Riley was called upon by the Kentucky state legislature (congress) to provide testimony that was vital in passing title 83…a law that prohibits scholastic competition between biological males and biological females.”
“This was an epiphany for Riley as she now realized her mission was to make sure what had happened at the NCAA swimming championships would never occur again.”
“Riley envisioned a federal law entitled “TITLE XX” (symbolizing female XX chromosomes) that would protect gender equity and honor biological females in athletic competition.”
Title IX is the federal law enacted in 1972 to combat discrimination based on gender. What it is best known for was opening up sports to women and girls. I was a competitive swimmer in the 1970’s and swam for my high school because of it.
Women’s empowerment is important – in sports, education and work. But women and men in sports must uphold Title IX and cannot ignore the basic truth of gender – that biological males and biological females are not interchangeable. Wardrobe can hide gender, but does not change gender.
“When you can’t acknowledge what a woman is, there’s a huge problem,” Gaines said. “This is deeper than just sports. This is a systematic erasure of what a woman is.”
Equality, not equity, can be achieved in “pay, sponsorship and visibility,” based on merit and biological honesty.
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