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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

GW athletes push Congress for gender equity in sports, start Title IX education group

Lexi Critchett | Photographer
Graduate student Grace Wiczek speaks on equity in women’s sports at a briefing in the Russell Senate Office Building.

Graduate student Grace Wiczek is used to holding down her square of the court, but last week the volleyball player found herself anchoring something else: a Capitol Hill podium.

Wiczek was among the speakers at a briefing in the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday that urged support for the Fair Play for Women Act, which aims to expand Title IX protections for women in collegiate and high school athletics. Wiczek’s remarks were just one part of her work to improve equity for women’s sports, as Wiczek is joining forces with junior women’s basketball player Maxine Engel to cofound a GW chapter of Voice in Sport, a Title IX education and advocacy group.

At Thursday’s briefing, Wiczek, who recently concluded her graduate student season at GW, detailed her experience dealing with gender-based inequalities during her undergraduate career at Dartmouth.

“I was soon reminded about these frustrations when I learned the women’s locker room was in a men’s away basketball locker room, the only renovations being cheap wall decals,” Wiczek said during her speech. “It reminded me again of the little social promotion for women’s teams that they received for a game in comparison.

Wiczek said she envisions the chapter will help to build a stronger community among female athletes and help them become advocates for themselves.

“Just beyond creating advocacy when it comes to Title IX, [it is] also creating more of a community among all female athletes on campus and being able to talk about the common experiences that you do have as a female college athlete,” Wiczek said. “And just creating awareness, so people have that knowledge of what is considered Title IX and are better able to advocate for themselves as a result.”

Engel said that while GW does not have noticeable disparities or obvious Title IX violations, she is determined to start the Voice in Sport chapter to bring awareness to Title IX.

“GW has no glaring disparities,” Engel said. “The money all evens out. I’ve talked with our assistant athletic director, and I don’t see any issues within GW. But the biggest reason I just wanted to bring [the chapter] is I don’t think we do a good job of educating student-athletes on the gender equity side of Title IX.”

According to data filed by the University in June 2022, 265 of 411 GW athletes were women, about 65 percent. Roughly 55 percent of the about $22 million GW Athletics budget was spent on women’s athletics teams.

Engel said she hopes to have the club’s first general body meeting within the next month and is working on building a presence with athletes.

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