Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw makes impassioned plea for gender equality

Muffet McGraw calls for gender equality

The NCAA Women's Final Four is Friday and the coach for Notre Dame's Fighting Irish, Muffet McGraw made news before the game by addressing an issue that goes far beyond basketball.

"We do not have enough visible women leaders. We do not have enough women in power," she said.

On the sport's biggest stage, McGraw made an impassioned plea, calling for gender equality in sports.

"Men have the power. Men make the decisions. It's always the men that is the stronger one and when these girls are coming out, who are they looking up to, to tell them that's not the way it has to be. And where better to do that than in sports," McGraw said.

McGraw is in her 32nd season at Notre Dame and her Fighting Irish are the defending national champs. The hall of fame coach caused a stir earlier this week when she said that she would no longer hire men as her assistant coaches.

"When you look at men's basketball and 99 percent of the jobs go to men. Why shouldn't 99 or 100 percent of jobs in women's basketball go to women," she said.

Notre Dame v Mississippi State
Muffet McGraw reacts to her team on April 1, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Andy Lyons / Getty

In 1972, when Title IX was enacted to end gender discrimination in school sports, more than 90 percent of women college teams across two dozen sports had a female head coach. Today, that number is about 40 percent. In 1978, 79 percent of coaches in women's college basketball were women. Now it's down to 57 percent.

McGraw also addressed the lack of progress for women in politics.

"We've had a record number of women running for office and winning. I'm getting tired of the novelty of the first female governor of this state. The first female African-American mayor of this city. When is it going to become the norm instead of the exception," she said.