June 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation which prohibited sex-based discrimination in federally funded education. Since the policy’s inception in 1972, Title IX has become the battleground on which women in the United States have fought for equal inclusion in classrooms, sports fields, and on campus. Panelist Anucha Browne is one of those women, a former NCAA basketball player who went on to become one of the highest-ranking female executives in professional sports. Journalist Sherry Boschert’s book, 37 Words, and author Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s novel, No Stopping Us Now, tell stories of women like Anucha. The first is a review of the gutsy individuals on the frontlines of shaping our present reality and the second tells the story of one girl, Louisa, who—inspired by Gloria Steinem—fights her school administration to fund a women’s basketball team.
Boschert joined Bledsoe in conversation with Browne, a former New York Knicks executive and UNICEF USA Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, for an exhilarating interrogation of the fights which came before—as well as those which still lie ahead.
No Stopping Us Now
By Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Published by Ingram
When Louisa asks her principal to start a girls team, she’s soon viciously targeted by male coaches at her school, lied to by the school board, and dismissed as “out of line” as she fights for a fair chance to be an athlete. No Stopping Us Now is a story about finding one’s own voice through the joys of sports, love, and the power of sisterhood. Based on the author’s true story, it is a compelling examination of the courage it takes to stand up for what’s right.
By Sherry Boschert
Published by Ingram
By prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education, the 1972 legislation popularly known as Title IX profoundly changed the lives of women and girls in the United States, accelerating a movement for equal education in classrooms, on sports fields, and in all of campus life.
37 Words is the story of Title IX. Filled with rich characters—from Bernice Resnick Sandler, an early organizer for the law, to her trans grandchild—the story of Title IX is a legislative and legal drama with conflicts over regulations and challenges to the law. It’s also a human story about women denied opportunities, students struggling for an education free from sexual harassment, and activists defying sexist discrimination. These intersecting narratives of women seeking an education, playing sports, and wanting protection from sexual harassment and assault map gains and setbacks for feminism in the last fifty years and show how some women benefit more than others. Award-winning journalist Sherry Boschert beautifully explores the gripping history of Title IX through the gutsy people behind it.
In the tradition of the acclaimed documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, 37 Words offers a crucial playbook for anyone who wants to understand how we got here and who is horrified by current attacks on women’s rights..
Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Lucy Jane Bledsoe is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction, for both adults and young people, including Lava Falls, winner of the 2019 Devil’s Kitchen Fiction Award. Ms. magazine called her novel The Evolution of Love, about how those who develop the muscles of compassion and inclusion will win the evolutionary lottery (in the long run), “fabulous feminist fiction.” The New York Times said her novel A Thin Bright Line “triumphs as an intimate and humane evocation of day-to-day life under inhumane circumstances.” Bledsoe’s fiction has won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Literature, an American Library Association Stonewall Award, the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize, a Pushcart nomination, a Yaddo Fellowship, and two National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowships. Bledsoe loves basketball, mountains, cats, and books. She lives in Berkeley, CA.
Photo Credit: Sue Evers
Sherry Boschert is an award-winning journalist and the author of Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America and 37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination (The New Press). Among her many honors, she received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her efforts to promote equity within the news industry. She lives in New Hampshire.
Photo Credit: Meg Newman
Anucha Browne served as the Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer for UNICEF USA. She joined the organization in November 2017 and oversaw a comprehensive portfolio of strategy, engagement, advocacy, congressional relations, emergency response and domestic programs. As an extension of this work, Browne has pioneered domestic programs and grants in support of vulnerable children in the US who have been affected by natural disasters, disease, and migration.
Recently, her team launched a flagship international program, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative, to help local governments and communities center policy and decision making around the best interests of children and youth, with their active participation. In addition, she led the first UNICEF program response in tribal communities in the United States. Browne was accountable for the oversight and cross-divisional coordination of global humanitarian emergency response. She oversaw global programs and resource mobilization—directly supporting a $500 million fundraising goal, matching donor interests with UNICEF’s core programmatic areas for children. Browne was also responsible for the development and execution of the child rights impact partnerships strategy focused on coalition building with government municipalities, sport entities, higher education, the NGO community, child-serving organizations, migrant, and refugee protection organizations.
Previously, she was the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball championships beginning in August 2012, where she set the strategic direction for, and oversaw the operation and management of, the Division I, II and III women’s basketball championships. She served as regional, national, and international spokesperson for NCAA women’s basketball and was the primary liaison to the women’s basketball committees and the 1200 public and private colleges and universities on all matters related to the sport. Browne provided strategic oversight of the site-selection process for each championship and was the primary liaison to the NCAA’s broadcast partner ESPN. Her work in this role raised the profile of the sport in the national and international media. She also spearheaded a strategic initiative to ensure the ongoing collaboration across all levels of the sport (FIBA, USAB, WNBA, NCAA, and AAU). Browne established legacy community impact programs targeted at underserved populations in championship cities—a series of projects that teach social responsibility through service learning.
Before joining the NCAA, Browne was named the senior associate athletic director for marketing at the University at Buffalo in 2007 where she was responsible for marketing the revenue sports while overseeing ticket operations, promotions, and corporate sales efforts. Browne also served as the senior women’s administrator focusing on the gender equity issues within the athletic department and was responsible for annually reporting to the U.S. Department of Education.
In addition to her work in college athletics, Browne was hired in 2000 by Madison Square Garden where she served as the New York Knicks’ senior vice president of marketing and business operations, responsible for all franchise brand marketing initiatives and revenue generation ($180 million 2005). In this role, Browne became one of the highest-ranking female executives in professional sports.
Before the Knicks, Browne spent 11 years at IBM in various marketing and sales roles – most notably, leveraging IBM’s technology investments in the NBA, tennis Grand Slams, the PGA and the 1996, 1998 and 2000 Olympic Games. Browne also led a groundbreaking technology project at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. She got her career start working at Eastman Kodak after graduating from Northwestern University with a BS degree in communications. As a student-athlete at Northwestern, Browne was the Wildcats’ first All-American women’s basketball player and set 24 school records, most of which still stand today. She was a two-time Wade Trophy finalist and a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award. Browne was selected to the US National team in 1985 and won a gold medal at the William Jones Cup Games in Taipei, Taiwan. She was named NU’s women’s basketball player of the decade in 1992 as part of the Big Ten Conference’s 10-year anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics. She was also inducted into the Northwestern Hall of Fame in 1993. During her senior season, she became the first woman in NCAA history to tally six straight 30-pluspoint performances and she led the nation in scoring (30.5 points per game). She was selected to the Kodak, Street & Smith’s, and Women’s Sports Foundation’s All-American teams. She also captured Big Ten Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year and was the conference’s all-time leading scorer with 2,307 points. In her junior year, she became the first woman and the fourth person in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding in the same season.
Browne also earned a master’s degree in Communications at Florida State University. She has been recognized nationally for her work in the sports business and advocating for women. She was named to the Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” in 2003 and was recognized as a woman of power and influence in 2008 by the National Organization of Women.
Browne has served on several boards including the Children’s Village, the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, Advocates for Athletic Equity, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She currently serves on the Heartland Alliance Board of Directors and the DeVos Sport Business Management Program’s Board of Advisors.
She has three children and lives in Brooklyn.
Anucha Browne has certifications in DEI from Cornell University and executive coaching from IPEC.