Friday, August 29, 2008

Governor Palin Supports Title IX

(Photo from Huffington Post. Palin is on the right.)

Intrigued by the sports narrative that accompanied John McCain's announcement that he has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate -- we were immediately introduced to Palin the hockey-mom, coach, and former high school basketball state champion nicknamed Sarah-the-Barracuda -- I wondered what the newly-minted candidate thinks about Title IX. I may disagree with the rest of her politics, but I was pleased to discover that she has publically credited Title IX for contributing to her success in politics. In a 2007 interview, the Alaska Business Monthly asked Palin:
You're the first female governor of Alaska. In a recent article, you credit the Title IX federal law, which guarantees women equal opportunities in education, including school sports, with helping you get where you are.
Palin replied:
I had a great upbringing under Title IX. I can't imagine where I'd be without the opportunities provided to me in sports. Sports taught me that gender isn't an issue; in fact, when people talk about me being the first female governor, I'm a little absent from that discussion, because I've never thought of gender as an issue. In sports, you learn self-discipline, healthy competition, to be gracious in victory and defeat, and the importance of being part of a team and understanding what part you play on that team. You all work together to reach a goal, and I think all of those factors come into play in my role as governor.
It is, to be sure, more than a little problematic (and possibly quite telling) that she claims "gender is not an issue" as this could mean that she doesn't think gender discrimination exists today. Surely as an athlete and a politician she has seen the ways in which women are marginalized, trivialized and sexualized, so perhaps what she really meant is that gender is not an obstacle. But even if that is not what she means, it is still notable that she credits Title IX for her opportunity to play and learn from sport. It would be nice to see a Republican come to the statute's defense.

Interview link via Because I Played Sports