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Equality is the goal Lamoureux twins want to see next

FARGO - The Lamoureux twins' ability to score goals netted the U.S. women's hockey team gold at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, five months ago.

Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson discuss their fight for gender equity in hockey at the afternoon session of TEDxFargo on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at the Fargo Civic Center. Erin Bormett / The Forum
Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson discuss their fight for gender equity in hockey at the afternoon session of TEDxFargo on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at the Fargo Civic Center. Erin Bormett / The Forum
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FARGO - The Lamoureux twins' ability to score goals netted the U.S. women's hockey team gold at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, five months ago.

Now they have a different goal.

Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando urged the 2,000-plus people attending TEDxFargo on Thursday, July 26, to help women everywhere achieve equal pay, resources, recognition and support.

"Equity should be the norm, and until that happens our work is not done," Jocelyn told the crowd in the downtown Civic Memorial Auditorium.

The Grand Forks natives and their teammates risked their careers and a chance at playing in the Olympics, when they threatened to boycott the world championships after 15 months of talks with USA Hockey over pay and unequal treatment stalled.

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They struck a deal that improved pay, stipends, marketing and support of elite girls' hockey, with just days left.

"We had the absolute conviction we were right. .... We knew we had to stand up for the girls who weren't (yet) on the national team," Jocelyn said.

The women said they will continue to play and work toward progress in their sport, while working for another Olympic medal.

"It really is only a beginning. There are still things that need (to be done) to move the needle forward," Jocelyn said.

Knowing your value is paramount, she said.

"You have to know your value yourself, before someone else is going to give it to you," Jocelyn said

The women said they didn't really see the inequality in sport until they got to college and to the Olympic level of hockey.

"There's colleges that follow the spirit of Title IX" and provide equal resources for women's teams, "and there's colleges that do it to check a box," Monique said.

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For the University of North Dakota, the school they played for and graduated from, to drop women's hockey was a disappointment.

"If there's a positive solution to bring that sport back, it's something we want to be part of," Monique said. "It's pretty hard to justify in the spirit of Title IX, eliminating that program."

The rise of the "me too" movement has made women more confident talking about inequity, they said.

"It's about creating the conversation and being part of the solution," Jocelyn said.

"So many people think of gender equity as a woman's problem. It's everyone's problem," Monique said.

This fourth Fargo TEDx event included a wide range of speakers, among them, Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer for Microsoft

Smith urged action to close the digital divides between rural and urban residents, including a "national movement" for teaching young people coding and computer science skills.

"The jobs of the future require the skills of the future," Smith said.

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Broadband infrastructure also needs to become universal, Smith said, calling the ability to move large amounts of information vital for many industries, including agriculture.

More than 25 million Americans are without broadband, with 17 million of them in rural areas, he said, calling for the gap to be closed by 2022.

Meanwhile, Smita Garg emphasized the importance of immigration to the U.S.

Garg, who works with the North Dakota State University Career Center, has lived in nine cities on four continents. With America's births per woman lagging the replacement birth rate, she says immigrants play a key role in filling jobs.

Americans should embrace the world because globalization is nothing new; people have been interacting "for thousands of years," she said.

Garg emphasized the "value and beauty" of integration, rather than assimilation.

Assimilation means abandoning culture, and part of who you are. It's "like bland baby food," she said.

Integration, on the other hand, preserves individuality, and "it is like a fruit salad."

"People migrate to countries,"Garg said, but "integration happens in communities."

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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