Women’s Equity in Sports: The Fight, the Scars and the Thrill of Victory — the Story

The Fox Theater downtown will be buzzing on April 5 at 5 p.m. with people of all ages and genders eagerly awaiting the start of the Women’s Equity in Sports: The Fight, The Scars, and the Thrill of Victory Forum.

The forum is made up of five women who, in their own way, made and are still making an impact in the fight for gender equality in the world of sports.

Forum discussions will center around the challenges each faced on their journey, the experiences that brought them to where they are today, and how they intend to continue to push forward to pave a path for the women who follow them.

How did the idea for this extremely important gender equality forum come about?

Kathryn Bertine and Dr. Mary Rigdon, Director of University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science, began discussing the need to get information out regarding gender equality in the fall of 2021. At that time, Dr. Rigdon and her colleague Saura Masconale, the Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science, wanted to create a public space where people with expertise in industry, education and public policy could come together to talk about topics they hoped were of general interest. This is the third panel in their series.

When asked what the panel and the organizers wanted the takeaway to be from the forum, Dr. Rigdon said, “They (the panel) are going to set such an important example for everyone, especially young people, who are going to be the next generation of not just sports champions, but champions of equity. Industry leaders and societal role models. We think that providing this forum, this opportunity to describe and have a conversation with each other about their shared experiences will really be critical in the next step.

“Sports is important but it’s more than sports. We really think that bringing the panel together to tell their stories will be a powerful impact.”

Here is a quick introduction to these five phenomenal women on the panel:

Headlining the event are two University of Arizona alumna — Adia Barnes and Kathryn Bertine.

Barnes is the head women’s basketball coach at Arizona. Before taking the head coaching job at her alma mater, Barnes was a basketball star for the Wildcats from 1994-98 and was the first player from the program to be drafted into the WNBA.

After playing professionally, Barnes served as the Director of Player and Coach Development at the Seattle Academy.

She then joined the University of Washington women’s basketball program as an assistant coach under Kevin McGuff.

In 2016 Adia was hired at Arizona to be the head coach. In 2019, her third year leading the Wildcats, Arizona won the WNIT Championship. In 2021, Arizona played for its first-ever NCAA national championship.

Adia Barnes

Bertine holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona.

Bertine was instrumental in petitioning the organizers of the Tour de France, the Amaury Sport Organization, to launch a women’s Tour de France. In 2022, she received the Alumni of the Year award from the College of Social Behavioral Sciences.

Along with her cycling career and accomplishments in the cycling world, Kathryn is also an author of four books, a filmmaker, regular columnist for ESPN and espnW and CEO of Homestretch Foundation.

She continues to advocate for gender equality.

Kathryn Bertine

Joining Barnes and Bertine on the panel:

Sarah Spain, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning sports analyst at ESPN and co-owner of the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Sarah Spain

A.J. Mleczko, two-time Olympic hockey medalist and National Hockey League analyst for ESPN.

AJ Mleczko

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and the winner of the New York City Marathon.

Kathrine Switzer

The forum will be moderated by Damien Alameda from KOLD News 13. Damien is an Emmy and Associated Press award-winning sports journalist.

Damien Alameda

Tickets to this free event are going fast. There will be a raffle at the end where audience members can win items from the panelists.

CLICK HERE to secure your tickets to this informative and important forum now.

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