From Women’s March to the Assault on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programs

Vijay Violet
3 min readMar 27, 2024


A woman enjoying a view from an overlook

March is Women’s History Month, and March didn’t used to be this way for women’s sports in the US. March brings excitement every year as the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) college basketball championship takes center stage. The star of this March is Caitlin Clark of Iowa, a three-point shooter unlike any college basketball has ever seen. She now holds the records for single season three-point shots made and career points scored, men or women.

Clark is not an aberration. We also witnessed history recently in professional basketball. Albeit in an exhibition match at the NBA (National Basketball Association) All-Stars game in February, Sabrina Ionescu of WNBA (Women’s NBA) went toe to toe with unarguably the best ever in the history of the NBA in 3-point shooting, Steph Curry, and lost 26–29 — a small margin, shooting from the same 3-point line as the men.

It was within the last few years that it came to attention that the training facilities for women’s college basketball were so inferior that the NCAA admitted embarrassment and promised to do better. Professional women playing basketball still earn a fraction of what men do.

Women’s march has been slow, and the stardom of Caitlin Clark is possible today only because of immense efforts to overcome obstacles and create opportunities by people who came before her. Not unlike the trajectory of Black quarterbacks who lacked opportunities to shine until recently in American football. Women in the US gained the right to vote about a hundred years ago. Title IX, a law that required colleges to provide a semblance of equal opportunities for women athletes, came into existence about 50 years ago. Making a law is one thing. Bringing about meaningful change in a society is entirely another. If the former takes decades, the latter takes centuries!

Title IX is properly seen as a DEI program for women’s sports. Among the objectives of DEI programs is to present role models and offer opportunities for underrepresented populations in education or employment. It is about encouragement, and it’s about a foot in the door or a seat at the table. Must there be so few is a question at the heart of the DEI programs. That we need a DEI program does not mean that our forebears, let alone we personally or directly wronged the disadvantaged populations. DEI programs are an acknowledgment that all things considered, opportunities are still limited for some because of their gender, race, or ethnicity. Their need is observation-based: That the first woman got an opportunity to be on the US Supreme Court only 40 years ago and that the first Black woman justice only two years ago. That there is a path for Cailtin Clark only now.

Title IX is not under assault. But other DEI programs in higher-education institutions and corporations are under attack in the US, propelled by politicians aimed at driving a wedge among Americans. Why now? Because DEI programs are finally mature enough to make a difference, not just for the extraordinary but for the ordinary. Now is not the time to backpedal if we ever want to reach the ideals of a just society. Let’s not fall prey to divisive-us-versus-them arguments. Let’s affirm they’re us and we’re with them!

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Vijay Violet

I am an American. I care about the planet, its people and animals. I care about the oppressed and marginalized. And I care about the poor, both working and not.