WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today hosted the U.S. Department of Education and a diverse panel of women leaders in the professional sports industry for roundtable discussion to mark the significance of the Equal Pay Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Moderated by Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon, “Getting in the Game: Women in Sports Careers,” celebrated the impact of the two legislative milestones on women pursuing careers in professional sports and examined how to build upon the gains made possible by these laws and women in the industry.
The livestreamed event included the Department of Education’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach in the Office for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg, National Hockey League Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs Kim Davis, National Basketball Association Official Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling, Spisak Agency Founder KJ Spisak and Florida State University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff.
“While the many causes of gender and racial wage gaps include discrimination and biases, the single largest cause of wage gaps are differences in the jobs people hold,” explained Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon. “Too often, women and people of color are shut out of high-paying opportunities. Instead, they are overrepresented in lower-wage, unstable jobs that lack essential benefits. This kind of occupational segregation is one of the biggest barriers to economic equity for women. Today’s conversation showed us how we can build on the Equal Pay Act and Title IX to help raise women’s wages.”
“Title IX is our nation’s leading legal tool to secure equal opportunity for girls and women in sports,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach in the Office for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg. “We celebrate the changes it has brought and recognize the work still to be done, as girls and women across the country continue to face pervasive barriers in sports, from unequal funding, resources and coaching to worse facilities, sex-based harassment on and off the field, and fewer scholarship opportunities.”
“Taking part in this panel alongside influential women in the sports industry goes a long way toward encouraging women to pursue career opportunities in our field,” said Florida State University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff. “I would not be where I am today without the efforts of the trailblazing women who came before me and the vital Title IX and the Equal Pay Act legislation that creates an equal playing field.”
During the roundtable panelists shared their experiences and offered advice to women interested in the sports industry, including strategies to help get into these lucrative careers and recommendations for navigating challenges. All panelists agreed that more must be done to create and improve equity in the workplace, leading more women to pursue opportunities in the professional sports industry.
In June 1963, the Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in a monumental step toward ensuring equal pay for equal work. In June 1972, Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to promote gender equality in education, including athletics.