Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva is hoping to use Assemblyman Chris Norby's recent remarks about Title IX, the 1972 federal law mandating gender equality in college and high school sports, to help swap a woman for a man in the state's lower legislative house.
That woman would be Quirk-Silva, the Democrat facing Fullerton Republican Norby June 5 in the 65th Assembly District race.
"I am frustrated about those in power who would still deny the rights of others who seek equality and a level playing field," Quirk-Silva writes in a letter seeking campaign support.
As the state Assembly recognized the 40th anniversary of Title IX on May 14, Norby rose to say:
"We need to be honest about the effects of what I believe are faulty court interpretations or federal enforcement of Title IX, because it has led to the abolition of many male sports across the board in UCs and Cal States. And that was never the intention of this, to have numerical equality. It was never the intention to attain equality by reducing opportunities for the men."
That caused professional soccer player Brandi Chastain, who was there for the ceremony and is known internationally for whipping off her jersey and falling to her knees in her sports bra after the U.S. defeated China in the 1999 Women's World Cup, to visibly wince.
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"As someone who benefited from Title IX as a high school athlete and has witnessed the transformation of women's access to sports over the past generation, I am struck by how out of touch Mr. Norby appears to be on this issue," Quirk-Silva writes. "Since Title IX was passed in 1972, participation in sports by girls and women has increased by 545% at the college level and 979% in high schools.
"But there is still much work to be done; the gap between male and female athletic participation at the high school level has grown, female college athletes continue to receive fewer NCAA opportunities and athletic scholarships, and there is still tremendous inequity in resources at the high school level for girls sports equipment, uniform and facilities."
After noting her endorsements from "so many organizations who work hard to support women and girls in our society including National Organization for Women, National Women's Political Caucus, Women In Leadership and Planned Parenthood," Quirk-Silva's letter makes a pitch for financial contributions. Because breaking up the boys club takes cold, hard cash.