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Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw Gives Her Thoughts on Empowering the Women of Today

Being a voice for the young women of today.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Duke at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven’t seen it yet, in today’s Final Four press conference, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women’s Basketball head coach, Muffet McGraw, shared some of her thoughts on the state of equality between men and women in today’s society, and her role as a mentor and role model for the young women of today.

The question was, “Muffet, I know you made some comments about hiring practices and what you do in the future. How important as your career has gone on and we lost Pat Summit, how seriously do you take being that voice?”

This was Muffet’s response, “Did you know that the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1967 and it still hasn’t passed? We need 38 states to agree that discrimination on the basis of sex is unconstitutional. 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,’ and ‘the first female, African-American major of this city.’ When is it going to become the norm instead of the exception? How are these young women looking up and seeing someone who looks like them, preparing them for the future? We don’t have enough female role models. We don’t have enough visible women leaders. We don’t have enough women in power.”

“Girls are socialized to know when they come out, gender roles are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions. It’s always the men that is the stronger one. And when these girls are coming out, who are they looking up to to tell them that’s not the way it has to be? And where better to do that than in sports? All of these millions of girls that play sports across the country ... they could come out every day and we’re teaching them great things about life skills. But wouldn’t it be great if we could teach them to watch how women lead? This is a path for you to take to get to the point where, in this country, we have 50% of women in power. We have (right now) less than five percent of women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. So, yes, when you look at men’s basketball and 99% of the jobs go to men, why shouldn’t 100 or 99% of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women? Maybe it’s because we only have 10% women athletic directors in Division I (FBS). People hire people who look like them. And that’s the problem.”

What say you? These are pretty strong words from our head coach. As a woman who covers football, a game I did not play, I hear a fair amount of criticism as to whether or not I have the ability to do it well, seeing as I never played the game at a Division I or professional level. The other struggle I have is there are not a lot of women out there writing books on football, as I have, and still am. Which means there aren’t too many women for me to look up to or ask advice of. I hope to be that for those who follow me, and I also hope that as more women branch out into areas where women haven’t gone before, it becomes easier for future generations to do the same. As a woman doing my best to raise a strong young woman, I can already tell that my daughter’s mental strength and tenacity is light years ahead of where mine was at her age. She is going to make a bigger difference at bridging the gap than I was able to, and I’m so proud of her.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers & GO IRISH!