From Film to Sports, a Winning Week for Women

March 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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With UConn's women's basketball team breaking a major record and Kathryn Bigelow's Oscars, it has been a winning week for women. Judy Woodruff reports on another remarkable woman who is gaining ground on the football field.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: a week that recognized some noteworthy accomplishments by women.

JUDY WOODRUFF: From today onward, March 12 will be Natalie Randolph Day in Washington, D.C. The city’s mayor made the decision to honor the new varsity football coach of Calvin Coolidge High School, 29 years old, an athlete, a science teacher, and the only woman leading boys on the gridiron in any high school in the nation.

NATALIE RANDOLPH, Coolidge High School head football coach: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Randolph says she just wants to get on with it, coaching the game she loves to play and to coach. But the season’s start is months away. So, today is about handling an unexpected amount of attention.

NATALIE RANDOLPH: As for the players, my main concern is to make sure that they are not overshadowed. I mean, I do know the — the fact that this is so new, but I don’t want all focus to be on me. I want to make sure that they shine. I want to make sure that my seniors get where they need to be.

JUDY WOODRUFF: This week saw other woman making history, too. It started last Sunday, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for directing.

KATHRYN BIGELOW, director: It’s the moment of a lifetime.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Two days later, women were shattering records. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team topped its own winning streak, with a run of 72 games.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Then, the courageous women who flew for the Air Force in World War II, their surviving members were honored Wednesday with the Congressional Gold Medal, 60 years after their service to the country.

Deanie Parrish is one of them.

DEANIE PARRISH, Women Airforce Service Pilots: Thank you for this award, with humility, yet with a great sense of pride. Over 65 years ago, we each served our country without any expectations of recognition or glory. And we did it without comprising values that we were taught as we grew up.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The achievements of women were also being marked today at the United Nations by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the 15th anniversary of the World Conference on Women.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. secretary of state: I know there are those — hard to believe, but there are those who still dispute the importance of women to local, national, and global progress.

But the evidence is irrefutable. When women are free to develop their talents, all people benefit. We must declare with one voice that women’s progress is human progress, and human progress is women’s progress, once and for all.

JUDY WOODRUFF: When it comes to progress on the football field, Natalie Randolph sees no difference between herself and all the other coaches across the country.

NATALIE RANDOLPH: What coach doesn’t want to win? I want to win. We all want to win. I think that’s universal. I think that has nothing to do with whether I’m a woman or they’re a man.

JUDY WOODRUFF: She said she does hope the attention she gets will inspire others to keep breaking new ground.