Author to Speak on Achieving Gender Equity for Women’s Athletics

Author to Speak on Achieving Gender Equity for Women’s Athletics

Sheri Brenden, author of “Break Point: Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX,” will speak at Luther College in Iowa on April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall, along with her sister, Peg Brenden. The book covers Peg’s involvement in a landmark civil rights case to allow equal access to sports for women. Both Brenden sisters graduated from Luther College and participated in sports during the early Title IX era.

The talk is hosted and sponsored by the English department at Luther College, with additional support from the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE) and from the law and values program.

In the early 1970s, Peg Brenden sought to have the same opportunity to compete for her St. Cloud, Minn., high school in tennis as male athletes, and during her senior year filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota State High School League and her high school. Her action was joined with runner Toni St. Pierre into a 1972 lawsuit claiming a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The book recalls the courtroom battle before Federal District Court Judge Miles Lord and the subsequent appeals to the Eighth Circuit. The ruling opened the way for Peg to compete as a senior for her high school. In their talk, the Brendens will weave together both their family’s and broader women’s history to remind the audience of the wider implications for female students.

The book had its genesis when Sheri Brenden, Luther College class of 1981, became concerned that an important story about women in sport risked being lost. She drew on skills learned as a Luther English major, one-time reporter for the St. Cloud Daily Times, and research librarian for two of Minnesota’s largest law firms. To preserve the history, she interviewed teammates, coaches, lawyers and others associated with her sister’s gender-equity case.

During her Luther career, Peg Brenden played first singles on the Luther tennis team. She is a member of the Norse Athletic Hall of Fame. Following graduation at Luther in 1976, she completed her law degree at the University of Minnesota. She is a retired Minnesota Workers Compensation judge. Sheri competed at Luther in tennis and field hockey, and also served as an editor for CHIPS, the Luther student newspaper.

The talk is free and open to the general public. A reception will follow.