Monday, July 4, 2022


July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.


The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Women's Sports Advocates: Wedge Issues Aren't What We Need


Friday, March 25, 2022   

This weekend, the University of South Dakota's women's basketball team continues its magical run in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.

It is happening under the umbrella of a new state law targeting trans athletes, a movement some describe as "misguided" in supporting women's programs. With the Coyotes advancing to the Sweet 16, there has been a regional buzz.

Sarah Axelson, vice president of Advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation, said it should happen more often, rather than laws banning transgender girls and women from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity. Axelson contended it is not a problem, especially when so many others exist.

"We need legislators to start paying attention to overall participation opportunities, access, Title IX compliance, scholarships, facilities, uniforms, coaching, the fight for equal pay," Axelson outlined.

She pointed out advancements could align with the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year. The law prohibits discrimination in education-sponsored activities receiving federal funding.

South Dakota and Iowa recently joined the fray of states passing transgender sports bans. Supporters of the bans said their goal is fairness, arguing trans girls hold competitive advantages over cisgender athletes.

But the Foundation echoed other opponents, countering the laws are a solution in search of a problem. Meanwhile, at the professional level, Axelson stressed emerging leagues for women need more attention so they can grow.

"The WNBA has just reached some really monumental investment deals, right, and they're 25 years in," Axelson asserted. "Some of these other women's leagues are newer, but they're still seeking that sponsorship and seeking investment."

And as people tune in to March Madness, Axelson hopes they are mindful of the gaps in resources women players are afforded compared to men's teams. She referred to a social media post from last year's tournament comparing workout facilities.

"The men had what the picture showed was a state-of-the-art facility. The women had a tower of dumbbells, where I think they didn't exceed, like, 30 pounds, and a stack of yoga mats," Axelson recounted.

The backlash led to a review of NCAA championships in terms of gender equity.

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