Title IX and Lessons for Life

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From her career as an athlete came some important lessons: “Don’t fear a challenge, welcome it.” “The game ain’t over till it’s over – there are many quarters, many innings, and you have to play every one hard.” “You’ll never know the true joy of victory unless you have known defeat. Be humble in both.”

Maj. Margaret Witt found these maxims from the world of sports stood her in good stead during her years of service in the military – and during her long legal battle with the government over her dismissal from the military under the now-repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  

Best known for the precedent-setting case she pursued with the help of the ACLU-WA (https://aclu-wa.org/news/final-settlement-landmark-lawsuit-major-witt-retire-full-benefits), Major Witt also is proud of her achievements as an athlete. At Curtis High in Pierce County, Witt was a four-sport varsity athlete: volleyball, tennis, basketball, and softball. She played many years of soccer outside of school and swam in AAU competitions. While studying Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University, Witt played varsity basketball and fast pitch softball. And as an adult, she has coached several sports.

Margaret Witt is among a generation of women who benefited as girls from the opportunities made available by Title IX, the landmark 1972 federal law that bars discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds.

She’ll speak about what the chance to compete in women’s sports meant to her at a “chalk talk” the ACLU is sponsoring this Friday night as part of the Seattle Storm’s Women of Inspiration Night. Joining her will be Olympic boxing hopeful Queen Underwood and Jeanne Higgins, found of Girls on the Run Puget Sound.

Discount tickets for the event and the Storm’s game against the Connecticut Sun are available via our web site at http://action.aclu.org/storm11. The talk has been approved for Continuing Legal Education credit for attorneys.