WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of the start of the NCAA Championships this week, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) released the story of Margaret*, the mother of an Ivy League swimmer forced to compete against Lia Thomas — a transgender athlete on the University of Pennsylvania Women’s Swim Team who has broken numerous female legacy records. 

In Margaret’s words, “It’s really hard to see a young woman who’s worked since she was five or seven years old and maybe doesn’t have the talent and the strength of an Olympian, but has sacrificed their spring breaks, their Christmas vacations, their entire summers, their 5:00 AM mornings to become the best that they can be and has qualified to swim in college on a national level team. And then is told, ‘Sorry, you don’t make the team. You can’t participate on the relay because a man’s decided they deserve that place more. So you must step aside.’”

The video is part of Female Athlete Stories, a campaign launched by IWF in 2021 to tell the stories of female athletes, like Cynthia Monteleone, a Team USA World Masters Track athlete and coach, who’ve been harmed in the name of transgender inclusion. 

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of the Independent Women’s Law Center, said “Allowing male-bodied athletes to compete on limited roster teams inevitably means that there are fewer opportunities for female athletes – to be recruited, to receive a scholarship, or to participate in competitions. But Margaret’s testimony shows that the harm goes much deeper.”

Elizabeth Tew, executive director of the documentary, added, “Margaret’s story offers an emotional and poignant account of the thoughts and fears that female swimmers in the Ivy League have felt all season due to the failure of the IOC, the NCAA, and governing bodies of sport to recognize that women are women and protect sex-based athletics. We can’t afford to continue to ignore the biological differences between men and women. Doing so will jeopardize all that women have fought and worked for over the last century.”

Last summer, Independent Women’s Law Center released a report entitled Competition: Title IX, Male-Bodied Athletes & the Threat to Women’s Sports. The report aims to help athletic associations, policymakers, and courts understand the threat to female athletes and women’s sports. It describes the growing trend of males and transgender women (who were born male) participating in women’s sports, summarizes American law regarding sex discrimination and athletics, analyzes the evidence regarding physiological sex differences and the male-female athletic gap, and reviews testimony from female athletes who have competed with or against male-bodied athletes. To read the Competition report, click HERE.

To learn more about Female Athlete Stories and to watch the full video, visit: iwf.org/savefemalesports

*Name has been changed to protect anonymity.


Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.