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Two Women Cast Against Stereotype

July 11, 1993

No stranger to hurdles on and off the field, Barbara Fiege will soon become the first woman director of interscholastic athletics of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Her selection sends a positive message to girls who want to become champions. Fiege proves that softball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields--and the offices of those who make the rules that govern the games--are no longer the private preserve of boys and men.

The choice of a woman as the district's athletic director should not come as a complete surprise in 1993. Title IX, the federal law that requires gender fairness in college sports, has been in effect for more than two decades. The requirements in that law also have encouraged greater equity in high school sports.

Fiege is a veteran high school athletic director and longtime basketball coach at Belmont High School. Her experience catapulted her to the top of the contenders for the new job. As city athletic director she will develop schedules, arrange playoffs and coordinate athletics for the district's 49 high schools.

Fiege is among the legions of women who are breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings in male-dominated bastions such as sports, business and the most macho arena of all, the military.

Take Sheila Widnall, an aeronautics professor and associate provost at MIT, who has been nominated by President Clinton to become secretary of the Air Force. She would become the first woman to head one of the military services. Now, isn't that about time?

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