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Michigan Task Force on Women in Sports announces first recommendations
June 01, 2022
The Michigan Task Force on Women in Sports today released its initial recommendations following three years of work researching and developing strategies to support and promote opportunities in the state for girls and women in sports.
Created by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Task Force is chaired by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who announced the recommendations and shared an executive summary of the Task Force’s report at a press conference at the Mackinac Policy Conference. She was joined by numerous Task Force members and supporters, including two-time Olympic gold-medal winning soccer player Mia Hamm and world champion bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson: “Women and girls often build stronger, more successful teams and organizations, and gain skills that benefit them and everyone when they move into leadership roles in all sectors of society. That’s why it’s critical that women and girls in Michigan are provided what they deserve – high quality and equitable opportunities to participate in sports as athletes, coaches, and administrators.”
Mia Hamm: “My teammates and I learned very early that we had to advocate for ourselves because no one else would. Girls and women today need advocates, too, to close gaps in equity, pay, funding, and most importantly respect. That’s why the work of this Task Force is critical, and why leaders in all sectors should advance its recommendations.”
Elana Meyers Taylor: “I am a passionate advocate for sports and equality for girls and am thankful for organizations that support athletes from marginalized communities. Girls in those communities have big dreams and great talent, too, and they can reap benefits for Michigan if they have access, resources and support. That’s why the work of this Task Force is important. It’s mapping a strategy for the state to build equitable pathways for all women and girls that will bolster the state of Michigan in countless ways, in both the short and long term.”
The Task Force will release its full report with all recommendations later this month. The three initial recommendations announced today were:
- Modernize and expand upon Federal Title IX laws with increased sports-specific protections, compliance, and accountability.
- 50 years after passage of the landmark law, the Task Force’s research found it has fallen short of achieving equity in numerous ways, and recommends law, policy, training and monitoring all be used to increase accountability.
- Invest in talent and leadership pathways that explicitly support the growth of women and girls in and through sports.
- Women are underrepresented as staff and athletes of professional sports teams and in sports leadership at colleges and universities. This can be addressed by increasing internships, mentorship and gender bias awareness and training.
- Engage the public, youth sports and business communities to support solutions for equitable opportunities for girls and women at all levels of sports.
- With public, individual and business funding, organizations that utilize best practices can be supported and interest in a professional women’s sports team could be bolstered.
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