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Forum Champions Merits of Women's Sports

About 25 people attended the forum on "Women Learning Through Participation in Sports," which was sponsored by the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals and designed to promote awareness of women's sports equity.

Jana Toepel, a senior on the field hockey team, spoke about the importance of the positive self-image that athletic participation gives women.

She stressed that in today's society, young girls need to know that being themselves is OK. "Having a good self-image helps you in so many ways," she said.

Toepel also said playing sports has taught her time management and the ability to juggle a demanding course load while putting in long hours at practice.

Toepel said her athletic experiences have taught her that nothing is impossible. "I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind and heart to," she said.

Beth Miller, senior associate athletic director, explained UNC's compliance with Title IX, which went into effect in 1972 and stated that no organization that receives federal funding can discriminate based upon sex.

Miller explained that to be in compliance with Title IX, an athletic program must adhere to at least one of three components. While UNC does not meet the stipulation that the percentage of female athletes should be equal to the percentage of women in the student body, the University does meet the recommendation that the program should continually add new sports.

Miller cited the addition of women's lacrosse in 1995 and women's crew in 1997 as prime examples of UNC's commitment to expanding its female athletic programs.

And Miller said UNC also has displayed a commitment to meeting the interests and abilities of female students, noting that several women's varsity programs began as student proposals.

Anson Dorrance, UNC women's soccer coach, took the floor to talk about the differences in coaching men and women.

Dorrance said the most difficult challenge in coaching women is teaching them that it's OK to beat their teammates in practice. He referred to a quote from Simone de Beauvoir, saying that the women "would rather be accepted and liked than dominate and be respected."

"Men are harder to coach and easier to manage, while women are easier to coach yet harder to manage," Dorrance said.

He elaborated by explaining that he has no trouble teaching certain technical aspects of the game to his women's team. His most difficult challenge is making sure they have "chemistry."

Dorrance said coaching a women's soccer team is a mutual exchange.

"The evolution for me was to learn to connect, and the evolution for them was to learn to compete."

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