WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, as the Roanoke College Women’s Swim Team broke their silence in a rally and press conference to save women’s sports, Independent Women’s Forum stood alongside a strong coalition of women’s sports and public policy organizations in support of the team. After being gaslit into allowing a biological male to join their Division III Women’s Swim Team, they are calling on the NCAA to make rule changes that prioritize fairness and equal opportunity for women, asking lawmakers in Virginia to pass legislation to protect the integrity of women’s sports, and responding to efforts to manipulate and intimidate them into silence.
Independent Women’s Forum representatives and spokeswomen participated in today’s event and issued the following statements of support for the Roanoke College Women’s Swim Team:
Link to the livestream of the event.
Link to photos from the event.
Riley Gaines, spokeswoman and advisor at Independent Women’s Voice and 12x NCAA All-American swimmer, said: “It’s refreshing to see a group of girls willing to say enough is enough when they’re faced with an injustice. When being told to stay quiet and accept discrimination on the basis of they’ve said “no”. I’m so proud to link arms with them in the fight to save women’s sports.”
Paula Scanlan, Stand With Women spokeswoman at Independent Women’s Forum and former NCAA swimmer and ex-teammate of Lia Thomas, said: “I am so proud of the girls on the Roanoke College swim team for standing up for themselves and saying no to unfair competition. It is so important all girls and women come together to stand up for our rights and it’s amazing they are all united on this issue.”
Adriana McLamb, spokeswoman for Independent Women’s Forum, former Division 1 volleyball player, and now coach to aspiring collegiate female volleyball players, said: “This is just another instance where the feelings of a biological male are taking priority over those of females. The athletes of Roanoke are extremely brave and showcasing the importance of being a part of a team. It is positive to see a united front from athletes whose primary goal is to protect female spaces like their sport and locker rooms, but disappointing that once again athletes are being put in this position that they must speak out against the attempting silencing, harassment, and unfair treatment because of a male. Independent Women’s Forum is proud of the strong ladies of Roanoke’s Women’s Swimming team and we stand firm with our coalition partners to support these ladies in their fight to protect women’s sports. As a former NCAA athlete myself who understands the importance of team and sport, these ladies standing together is a representation that as women we are united in the goal to protect female spaces and fight against the erasure of women.”
Julie Gunlock, director of Independent Women’s Network, the grassroots membership arm of Independent Women’s Forum, said: “As a Virginia parent, I am incredibly concerned about this issue and applaud these young women for bravely speaking up! But they shouldn’t have to. Colleges and universities and sports institutions must immediately create policies that will protect female athletes and ensure the integrity of female sports. It is outrageous that these young women have had to take the lead in demanding policies that correct these obvious violations of women’s health, safety and privacy. It’s high time that the officials in charge of these schools and sports organizations dealt with this issue once and for all.”
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said: “The NCAA needs to put a stop to this nonsense now. Allowing even a single male to take a roster spot or a lane in the pool or a place on the podium from a female athlete is discrimination, and it is unlawful. The NCAA may not be bound by Title IX, but their member schools are. And the NCAA should be doing all that it can to ensure those schools comply with federal anti-discrimination law.”
BACKGROUND ON IW’S EFFORTS TO PROTECT TITLE IX:
- IWF and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) filed a formal comment with the Department of Education opposing the Biden administration’s plan to gut Title IX by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), IWF’s c4 sister organization, drove more than 15,000 public comments to the Department. The comment can be found HERE.
- IWF and IWLC have produced a first of its kind report entitled, “Competition Report: Title IX, Male-Bodied Athletes, and the Threat To Women’s Sports,” to help athletic associations, policymakers, and courts understand the growing threat to female athletes. The second edition was released earlier this year. Read HERE.
- IW launched an open letter and public sign-on campaign spearheaded by over 100 athletes ranging from the high school, collegiate, and Olympic levels urging athletic associations, policy makers, and government officials not to destroy female athletics. The letter can be found HERE.
- IWF’s Female Athlete Storytelling Drive featuring real stories from women athletes detailing the unfair personal experiences of competing with and against male-bodied athletes can be found HERE.
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.