The Notre Dame women's basketball team is back in the Final Four, hoping to win back-to-back national championships for the first time in program history. But on the eve of her team's national semifinal matchup against rival UConn, Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw had a lot more than just basketball on her mind.
"Did you know that the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1967 and it still hasn't passed?" McGraw said. "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, the first female African American mayor 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 that 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 rules are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions. It's always the man that is the stronger one. When these girls are coming out, who are they looking up to to tell them that's not the way it has to be. Where better to do that than in sports? All these millions of girls that play sports across the country, 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 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies."
"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? Maybe it's because we only have 10% women athletic directors in Division I. People hire people who look like them. That's the problem."
McGraw recently declared she would only hire other women on her coaching staff.