WASHINGTON, D.C. Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) today joined U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill for a roundtable discussion on preserving Title IX and saving women’s sports. The Take Back Title IX roundtable, led by U.S. Senator “Coach” Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and moderated by former ESPN broadcaster Sage Steele, focused on the importance of single-sex athletic competition. 

Speakers at the roundtable, pictured above, included:

  • Jennifer C. Braceras, vice president for legal affairs at Independent Women’s Forum and founder of Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC); 
  • Paula Scanlan, former University of Pennsylvania swimmer and Independent Women’s Forum ambassador;
  • Coach Kim Russell, former Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College and Independent Women’s Forum ambassador; and,
  • Cady Mullens, mother of Lily Mullens, an NCAA athlete and captain of the Roanoke College women’s swim team, who spoke out against a male joining their team after swimming on the men’s team the year prior.

Senator Tuberville, as well as Senators Katie Britt (R-AL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), discussed the importance of Title IX, which was passed in 1972 to expand opportunities for women and girls, and the threat to women’s sports, posed by the Biden administration’s illegal Title IX rule changes.

Jennifer Braceras on the legal implications of Title IX: “Unfortunately, new rules proposed by the Biden administration flip the entire edifice of Title IX on its head. By claiming that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of ‘gender identity,’  a term never mentioned in the statute, the proposed rules pressure schools to let male students who identify as women roster with women’s teams. But how can teams with limited roster spots, budgets, scholarship money, and resources possibly do this while providing equal opportunity for female athletes? The answer is, they cannot.”

Paula Scanlan shared her experience as a female athlete and sexual assault survivor: “The swimming locker room had always been a safe space for me, a place where I felt safe. That is, until my university invited a male body to undress alongside me. I began to have nightmares and mentally had to relive my own attack every week that I changed in that locker room. Many of us dealt with our discomfort by changing in bathroom stalls or using the family bathroom. The NCAA and the universities are supposed to protect their athletes. Instead, they’ve chosen inaction, and put the burden on athletes, like myself, to advocate for fairness, safety, and privacy in our own sports.”

Kim Russell, former Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College, said: “Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here at 56 years old—fighting to get back the rights that were given to women and girls almost 52 years ago. As my kids say, ‘Mama, you’ve been canceled twice.’ Canceled simply for saying what federal law requires: that women and men are entitled to equal athletic opportunities—opportunities that are not possible without single-sex sport.”

Cady Mullens on being the parent of a female athlete who competed against a male: “We have all become too familiar with men competing unfairly and unjustly in women’s sports. Women are put at risk and robbed of opportunities when this happens, but still, it continues. It happened to my daughter and her teammates at Roanoke College. Our girls were told not to speak up. They were told they would be labeled and face academic and professional repercussions. They were told if they didn’t like it they could leave.”

“As a former coach, I have seen firsthand the impact Title IX has had on women’s sports,” said Coach Tuberville. “Title IX created an equal playing field by allowing women to earn scholarships and compete fair and square. Under the Biden administration, Title IX is under attack. That’s why I was proud to introduce the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act in the Senate, but Democrats refuse to bring it up for a vote. I was glad to host this roundtable with Independent Women’s Forum to raise awareness and find ways we can work together to save Title IX and protect women’s sports.”

Watch the full roundtable event livestream HERE.

Independent Women’s Forum is leading the fight to save women’s sports. Learn more below:

  • IWF led the “We Won’t Back Down” Rally at the 2024 NCAA Convention to demand equal athletic opportunity for women. The event was the fourth Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition event featuring female athletes and coaches speaking out against men in women’s sports. Read the NCAA’s response.
  • 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.
  • IWF’s Female Athlete Storytelling drive featuring real stories from real women athletes can be found here.
  • Independent Women’s Voice, IWF’s 501(c)(4) sister organization, drove more than 15,000 public comments to the Department of Education opposing the proposed new Title IX rules. IW’s official comment opposing the rule can be read 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.