Monday, June 23, 2014

When women were breaking the sports barrier

On this day in 1972, Title IX -- the U.S. law that prohibits sex discrimination in athletics by federally funded schools (pretty much all colleges) -- was enacted. It took awhile, and the process is still sputtering on in some places, but contemporary accomplishments in women's sports have their foundation in this landmark.

Since the enactment of Title IX, women’s participation in sports has grown exponentially. In high school, the number of girl athletes has increased from just 295,000 in 1972 to more than 2.6 million. In college, the number has grown from 30,000 to more than 150,000. In addition, Title IX is credited with decreasing the dropout rate of girls from high school and increasing the number of women who pursue higher education and complete college degrees.

When we delight at the successes of a Serena Williams or a Mia Hamm, it is hard to remember how much has changed in a mere 42 years. To get a sense of the distance from that time, take a look at this video celebrating pioneer tennis champ Billie Jean King's victory over an over-the-hill male player. The gulf between that time and this one is very wide.

1 comment:

janinsanfran said...

Sandra sent this comment: In 1973 or early 1974, I wrote an article for the college newspaper about our woman coach. She was hired due to Title IX, and while she had the funds, etc., there weren't many women going out for sports yet. But it was exciting, nevertheless!

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