MADISON, WI – Today, Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) advisor and spokeswoman, Paula Scanlan, testified before the Wisconsin General Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities in support of efforts to protect women and girl’s sports particularly at the collegiate level, where the stakes are the highest and the risks are the greatest.

Scanlan shared her personal story, from her time as a competitive swimmer at a young age to her troubling experiences as a NCAA Division I athlete at the University of Pennsylvania on the same team as Lia Thomas, formerly Will Thomas. Scanlan, in detail, discussed the efforts by the university to gaslight, silence, and re-educate female athletes on the team who, like her, were uncomfortable undressing 18 times per week in the presence of a biological man fully-intact with male genitalia.

Watch part of Scanlan’s testimony before the Wisconsin General Assembly.

During her testimony, Scanlan read, in part: “Unfortunately, the canceling and silencing of women who advocate for maintaining the sanctity of women’s spaces is becoming commonplace. Those who stand up for privacy, fairness, and equal athletic opportunity are  labeled as transphobic, bigoted, and hateful. But what’s bigoted and hateful is the misogynistic attempt to erase women and silence our voices, particularly the voices of women like me who are survivors of sexual assault.”

The anniversary of #MeToo is on October 15. Scanlan, who is a survivor of sexual assault, testifies before the Wisconsin General Assembly about why women’s spaces must be protected.

“I was able to forgive my attacker, but violence against women still exists. Let us not forget the viral #MeToo movement that empowered female victims to speak up; it cast a spotlight on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, including on college campuses,” said Scanlan.

Scanlan calls on Wisconsin to take action to protect women’s spaces, privacy, and opportunities at the collegiate level: “And if the federal government won’t enforce Title IX, hopefully this state will. I ask members of this committee to please support efforts to keep women’s sports female, particularly at the college level, where the stakes are highest and risks are greatest.”

Representative Barbara Dittrich pursued a multi-year quest to protect women and girl’s sports and spaces after young female athletes, who were only freshmen in high school, were similarly forced to share a bathroom with a trans-identifying male in her district.

In her personal capacity, Rep. Dittrich is a co-leader of the Southern Wisconsin Independent Women’s Network (IWN) chapter. IWN, the grassroots activist arm of Independent Women’s Voice, is an engaging and growing community of independently-minded women working together to advance shared principles.

Scanlan with bill sponsors, Representative Barbara Dittrich and Senator Dan Knodl.

Rep. Dittrich today in her testimony, addressed fact-based, scientific realities: “By biological males being permitted to play on women’s teams because of gender identity, biological females are once again losing opportunities at titles, scholarships, and even participation. Additionally, by ignoring the scientific, biological fact that males have higher bone density, greater muscle mass, and often greater height, women are being put in physical danger of greater injury in competition.”

In another call for action, Scanlan during her testimony, invited female athletes to share any stories they have about the experiences of being a female athlete at and join a supportive community of female athletes who are fighting to keep women’s sports female.

Paula Scanlan has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives. Her testimony can be read and watched here.


Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.