Cantwell, Murray, Feinstein Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Honoring Women Athletes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate commerce committee; Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate labor committee; and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan resolution in support of the 34th annual “National Girls & Women in Sports Day” to recognize the achievements of women athletes.

“Sports has the power to inspire us, and our country is better when women are empowered to participate and compete,” said Senator Cantwell. “Washington athletes like Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, Michelle Akers, Katelyn Ohashi, and so many others have shown us just what is possible. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to recognize the importance of female athletes and encourage our next generation of girls to chase after their dreams.”

“Both on and off the field, women athletes have made remarkable achievements, but they still aren’t treated fairly or paid equally to men,” said Senator Murray. “This year, the U.S. women’s national soccer team proved to the world that women athletes are not only world-class competitors, but also powerful forces for change. I’m so proud to introduce this resolution to honor and celebrate the success of women athletes, and I’ll continue to fight for equal access and equal pay for women and girls in sports.” 

Senators Cantwell and Murray have been strong advocates for women athletes. In July 2019, following the success of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), Senator Murray introduced the Athletics Fair Pay Act to require equal pay, compensation, and treatment for all Olympic and amateur women athletes, and Senator Cantwell introduced the bipartisan Equal Pay for Team USA Act to ensure equal pay for Americans who represent our country in global athletic competitions, like the World Cup or the Olympics. Both senators also met with USWNT and Seattle Reign star Megan Rapinoe this summer to discuss efforts to close the gender pay gap.

In addition to Senators Cantwell, Murray, and Feinstein, the resolution is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full text of the resolution can be found HERE and below:

Supporting the observation of ``National Girls & Women in Sports Day'' on February 5, 2020, to raise awareness of and celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports.


            Whereas athletic participation helps develop self-discipline, initiative, confidence, and leadership skills, and opportunities for athletic participation should be available to all individuals;


            Whereas, because the people of the United States remain committed to protecting equality, it is imperative to eliminate the existing disparities between male and female youth athletic programs;


            Whereas the share of athletic participation opportunities of high school girls has increased more than sixfold since the enactment of title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) (referred to in this preamble as “title IX”), but high school girls still experience—


(1)   a lower share of athletic participation opportunities than high school boys; and

(2)   a lower level of athletic participation opportunities than high school boys enjoyed almost 50 years ago;


            Whereas female participation in college sports has nearly tripled since the enactment of title IX, but female college athletes still only comprise 44 percent of the total collegiate athlete population;


            Whereas, in 1972, women coached more than 90 percent of collegiate women’s teams, but now women coach less than 50 percent of all collegiate women teams, and there is a need to restore women to those positions to ensure fair representation and provide role models for young female athletes;


            Whereas the long history of women in sports in the United States—


(1)   features many contributions made by female athletes that have enriched the national life of the United States; and

(2)   includes inspiring figures, such as Gertrude Ederle, Wilma Rudolph, Althea Gibson, Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, and Patty Berg, who overcame difficult obstacles in their own lives—

(A)   to advance participation by women in sports; and

(B)   to set positive examples for the generations of female athletes who continue to inspire people in the United States today;


            Whereas the United States must do all it can to support the bonds built between all athletes to break down the barriers of discrimination, inequality, and injustice;


            Whereas girls and young women in minority communities are doubly disadvantaged because—


(1)   schools in minority communities have fewer athletic opportunities than schools in other communities; and

(2)   the limited resources for athletic opportunities in minority communities are not evenly distributed between male and female students;


            Whereas the 5-time World Cup champion United States Women’s National Soccer Team is leading the fight for equal pay for female athletes;


            Whereas, with the recent enactment of laws such as the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (Public Law 115–126; 132 Stat. 318), Congress has taken steps—


(1)   to protect female athletes from the crime of sexual abuse; and

(2)   to empower athletes to report sexual abuse when it occurs; and


            Whereas, with increased participation by women and girls in sports, it is more important than ever to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes by protecting them from the crime of sexual abuse, which has harmed so many young athletes within youth athletic organizations: Now, therefore, be it


            Resolved, That the Senate supports—


(1)   observing “National Girls & Women in Sports Day” on February 5, 2020, to recognize—

(A)   the female athletes who represent schools, universities, and the United States in their athletic pursuits; and

(B)   the vital role that the people of the United States have in empowering girls and women in sports;

(2)   marking the observation of National Girls & Women in Sports Day with appropriate programs and activities, including legislative efforts—

(A)   to ensure equal pay for female athletes; and

(B)   to protect young athletes from the crime of sexual abuse so that future generations of female athletes will not have to experience the pain that so many female athletes have had to endure; and

(3)   all ongoing efforts—

(A)   to promote equality in sports, including equal pay and equal access to athletic opportunities for girls and women; and

(B)   to support the commitment of the United States to expanding athletic participation for all girls and future generations of women athletes.