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Copyright 1999 The Buffalo News  
The Buffalo News

July 24, 1999, Saturday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 778 words


BYLINE: Pat Swift


You might think that the exciting performance of the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team would vindicate the enforcement of Title IX, the nation's statutory commitment to gender equity in education and athletics.

But the National Women's Law Center has detected a backlash against the program. Dorothy Lohmann of the center says critics claim Title IX victimizes men and that their programs have been sacrificed in the effort to open up playing fields to women.

Statistics don't support that claim. In fact, according to the NWLC, women's programs continue to lag behind men's: "Female athletes have 37 percent of the opportunities to play intercollegiate sports, 38 percent of athletic scholarships, 23 percent of athletic operating budgets and 27 percent of the dollars spent to recruit athletes."

From 1992 to 1997, men's athletic budgets in Division 1-A alone increased by 139 percent compared to an increase of 89 percent in women's budgets, the NWLC says.

Some of the men's budget gets spent on coddling football players, who, along with their coaches, live and travel in high style, eating up all the revenue that their high-profile sport is suppose to generate for their schools.

The NWLC's report states that 55 percent of men's football and basketball teams in the top two divisions report annual deficits averaging in the millions in Division 1-A to $ 657,000 in Division 1-AA.

Women professional athletes don't threaten the men, either. The Wall Street Journal reported recently on the difficulty women's sports have in attracting television sponsors and noted that television ratings for women remain far below those for the men's performances in tennis, golf, soccer and basketball. Before Title IX was enacted in 1972, there were fewer than 32,000 women playing college sports. Today there are more than 128,000.

Not all the news on managed health care is bad. The Commonwealth Fund reports that women in managed care plans generally have the same or better access to care than women in traditional fee-for-service plans.

Not all the news is good, either.

The fund's 1998 survey of women's health showed that both types of health care insurance fall short in providing counseling and prevention services.

And the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is on the case of every health care plan that denies women clients coverage of prescription birth control.

According to the Commonwealth Fund's survey, women in managed care are more than twice as likely to have a regular doctor as those in fee-for-service plans, and are more likely to have prescription coverage. Managed care was the choice of more than 76 percent of the women surveyed.

HMOs were slightly better in providing preventive medicine, but the survey found significant gaps in quality of service, noting, for example, that physicians were not counseling on sexually transmitted diseases and the benefit of calcium in preventing osteoporosis.

The almost instantaneous addition of Viagra to insurance plans' drug coverage has engendered outrage among women denied coverage for the birth control pill and birth control devices.

Women routinely pay 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket medical costs, due in large part to contraceptive costs. A few states have rectified this discrimination, but Planned Parenthood says the ultimate answer is congressional approval of the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act. Saying it is a matter of "simple fairness and common sense," Planned Parenthood is supported by polls showing 75 percent of Americans agree.

Pan Am 2001 Women's Virtual Pavilion is moving into an office in the Larkin House, space generously provided by the Buffalo Seminary, and is passing a huge floppy hat to anyone who wants to help in the pavilion construction.

It has lost one of its founders and executive board leaders, Sandra Gutowski, who is moving out of the area, but the organization keeps adding new faces and new ideas. A final program will be culled from proposals ranging from beautification projects to a global conference sometime next fall.

While the Pan Am 2001 Board, short of the seed funding it was seeking, prepares to reorganize, the women's pavilion builders are beginning their own search for grants. A $ 2,000 gift from an anonymous donor and more than $ 600 in contributions is helping to finance the office.

Donations to the Women's Virtual Pavilion are being accepted through the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. The money will be used to support the office and hire a part-time coordinator. Major grants are being sought to finance the pavilion projects.


LOAD-DATE: July 25, 1999

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