The women's World Cup championship game, held on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, was the most-watched soccer event ever on a U.S. television network, not to mention the most-watched women's sporting event of all time, with an audience of more than 40 million people.
The game brought in 4% greater ratings than the men's World Cup games hosted in the U.S. in 1994 and more than twice the viewers for last year's men's World Cup match. This attention was much greater than the U.S. women's team received in 1991, when they returned from China as victors, but barely received any television coverage.
The women are currently fighting for the creation of a women's professional soccer league, and the U.S. Soccer Federation has developed a study to evaluate that possibility. The general secretary of the Federation, Hank Steinbrecher, commented that "The goal is to take what we've learned about women's equity, what we've learned about women as equal partners and not subordinates, and export it around the world. I think we're on the edge of a cutting revolution."
The greater equity women receive in sports today is largely due to Title IX. Instituted in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination of women in sports in federally-funded educational institutions. This translates into more money and time being donated to women's sports, allowing women's teams to become more successful. However, implementation of Title IX varies from one institution to the next, and women's sports continue to face many challenges.
Jeff Marquis, who attended the championship game with his daughter, said "When they were growing up, I don't think I ever imagined that they'd have equal opportunities to play sports. But even before this thing exploded, she [his daughter, Brittany] had many of the same things [his son] got out of sports -- a network of friends, the confidence, the power."
Media Resources: Nando Times and AP - July 12, 1999
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .