The Biden administration official who leads the federal agency that enforces Title IX refused on Tuesday to define a “woman” under oath.
In the midst of a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona danced around the question when asked by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who focused his inquiry on proposed Title IX changes that seek to block policies that “categorically” ban transgender athletes from school sports teams that match their gender identity, but not their biological sex.
After Clyde explained how Title IX is meant to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs, which he noted had a “historic impact” on women and girls in sports, the congressman asked Cardona to define a “woman” while stressing the importance that male and female athletes continue to receive appropriate funding.
What is a woman?
Joe Biden’s Education Secretary REFUSES to answer. pic.twitter.com/JUSWwiJtLR
— Rep. Andrew Clyde (@Rep_Clyde) April 18, 2023
“Our focus at the department is to provide equal access to students, including students who are LGBTQ, access free from discrimination,” Cardona replied.
Pressed again by Clyde to directly answer his question, Cardona said he believes it is “almost secondary” to his role. Trying one more time, Clyde added some specificity, asking the secretary to explain how the Health and Human Services Department defines a “woman.”
“I lead the Department of Education, and my job is to make sure that all students have access to public education, which includes co-curricular activities,” Cardona said. “And I think you highlighted pretty well the importance of Title IX and giving students equal access, whether it’s scholarship and facilities and participation as well.”
The exchange was reminiscent of one Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) had last year with then-Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, when asked to define a “woman,” pushed back and said she is “not a biologist.” It is also the central question of the film “What is a Woman?” from Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh that has helped drive the public debate on gender ideology.
What followed during the hearing on Tuesday were questions of whether biological males should compete in women’s sports and whether it is safe for female students when biological males get access to private spaces, such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
Cardona similarly declined to provide direct answers, instead offering replies that generally stressed the importance of meeting student needs and keeping them safe.