This past Saturday was the 40th Anniversary of Title IX being signed into law. Hillary Clinton called Title IX “revolutionary” and “one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for women in our country’s history.” But our beloved Madam Secretary did not stop there. After lauding Title IX for helping to change just about everything for women in this country she announced that the State Department would be using sports as a way to empower women around the world. To that end she picked her team.
Madam Secretary may have many super powers but apparently sports were never her strong suit: “I was never a great athlete, but I loved sports. Sports helped me to learn how to be part of a team. It also helped me learn how to lose. You can’t win every time you go out, and you have to figure out what you’re made of after you do lose and whether you’re ready to get up and keep going.” So, what’s a brilliant lady to do when faced with a problem she can’t solve without the ability to bend it like Beckham? Call in the experts.
The State Department is pushing to use sports to empower women and foster understanding across cultures. It announced a mentorship program that will pair sports leaders from around the world with experts from the United States to help expand sporting opportunities.
Clinton assembled a team that will not disappoint (and will make Biden think twice about challenging her to a game of pick-up anything). Members of the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports contains some really big names: Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm (fresh off of being named the top female athlete of the last 40 years by espnW.com), Tamika Catchings, Angela Ruggiero, Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Kwan. Of course we need a few coaches too, how about Vivian Stringer and a little someone you may have heard of before named Pat Summit. Oh and if she’s not a big enough legend for you, H-Rod is bringing Billie Jean King off the bench. Sure, the Secretary of State may not have been a legendary athlete but she sure knows how to pick a team.
Secretary Clinton with ESPN’s President John Skipper
Sports can change lives. Sports can help to build bridges across cultures, languages, religions, and all manner of other barriers. Clinton also recognized that “sports can make you stronger, tougher, more confident, more resilient, and those qualities stay with you long after you finish the race or the final buzzer sounds.” In countries where women are not allowed freedoms we take for granted, sports can be an agent of change by giving women opportunities to be strong, independent, and forceful. Those changes extend well beyond the confines of the field and can change the world one empowered girl at a time.
Clinton is looking to change the world in a big way. She picked a team that will make that dream happen because none of the women on the list ever listened when they were told “you can’t do that,” “girls don’t do that,” or “that’s impossible.” You want to be the one to tell Pat Summit there is something she can’t do? Yeah, me neither and that’s precisely what our BAMF Secretary of State is counting on.
Who would you put in your all-star team?