WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) announced Kim Russell, former Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College, will join IWF as an Ambassador. Shortly after Russell shared her story in IWF’s exclusive documentary, “Burned at the Stake,” she was terminated from her position as head coach, banned from talking with student athletes, and reassigned to a newly created position. The punishments were a clear retaliation for Russell’s decision to break her silence and expose the ways Oberlin College administrators were censoring the views of those like her who believe women’s sports should be kept female. After facing backlash from colleagues and players alike, Russell no longer works at Oberlin College. Having played and coached women’s lacrosse for more than 40 years, Russell will continue advocating for women and for equal opportunity and fairness in women’s sports as an ambassador at IWF.
As an IWF Ambassador, Coach Russell will travel across the country sharing her story to shed light on what is happening inside academic institutions; testify before state legislatures on the need for legislation to keep women’s sports female, particularly at the college level, where the stakes are highest and risks are greatest; engage other college coaches and administrators to stand up for female athletes; and call on the NCAA to amend its guidelines to protect single-sex competition.
“I am honored and excited to join IWF as an ambassador,” said Coach Kim Russell. “I am passionate about women’s rights and women’s and girls sports. Having this opportunity to continue to be an advocate for women is a gift. I have found an incredible team and am humbled by the dedication and belief in the mission of every person I’ve met and worked with since telling my story to IWF.”
Carrie Lukas, Independent Women’s Forum president, said: “We are thrilled to have Kim join the team at IWF. People need to hear her experience as a woman who was standing up for other women and for the very concept of womanhood, and was attacked for it. In spite of harassment and their attempts to silence her, Kim refused to stand down. This takes real courage. This takes guts and commitment. We know that Kim will inspire other NCAA coaches and leaders to speak up against what’s happening to women and to the concept of free speech in too many institutions. We are excited to see what she is going to be able to accomplish at IWF.”
Riley Gaines, ambassador for Independent Women’s Forum, said: “I’m so glad Coach Kim Russell is joining the team. For too long, this country has had weak leaders unwilling to take a stand for what’s right, fair, and just. Kim isn’t willing to be that person. I’m grateful we’ve linked arms in this fight to preserve women’s sports and spaces. IWF continues to be the leading organization doing those things.”
Paula Scanlan, Stand with Women spokeswoman, for Independent Women’s Forum, said: “Kim is a brave, strong, and courageous woman and is a great addition to our IWF team. Coaches have been silent on this issue for far too long and Kim speaking up will help empower other coaches to do the same.”
Watch Coach Kim Russell’s original “Burned at the Stake” documentary HERE.
Watch Coach Kim Russell’s follow-up “No Period Talk” documentary 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.