In the Fight for Women’s Equality, Muffet McGraw Finds Her Moment (USA)
Muffet McGraw, head coach of the women’s basketball team at Notre Dame, has to her credit 923 career wins, nine Final Fours, four AP Coach of the Year awards, two national championships and a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Few coaches in any first-tier college sport can claim such accolades, the result of 37 seasons of steady excellence on Division I sidelines, the last 32 of them with the Irish.
And yet none of that, really, is what made her distinctive name a household one earlier this year and prompted a tweet from President Obama (“a voice everybody should hear”), a text message from Serena Williams, and a letter from Hillary Clinton (which is now affixed to McGraw’s fridge at her home).
No, it was something she said at the press availability before the Final Four in Tampa. McGraw was asked about an interview in which she said she would never again hire a male assistant. She channeled decades of frustration into a two-minute answer, which has since been viewed nearly seven million times on Twitter alone: “Did you know that the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1967 and still hasn’t passed?” she began. “… We’ve had a record number of women running for office and winning, and still we have 23% of the House and 25% of the Senate. I’m getting tired of the novelty of the first female governor of this state, the first female African-American mayor of this city. When is it going to be the norm instead of the exception? How are these young women looking up and seeing someone that looks like them, preparing them for the future? We don’t have enough female role models. We don’t have enough visible female leaders. We don’t have enough women in power. Girls are socialized to know that when they come out, gender rules are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions. … When you look at men’s basketball, 99% of the jobs go to men. Why shouldn’t 100 or 99% of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women?”
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