“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” –Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972
Passed by Congress on June 23, 1972, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Title IX law. This amendment impacted women in sports forever, but what exactly is it and what does it mean for us today?
In short, Title IX makes it so that federally funded educational institutions cannot discriminate against students based on their sex, especially in regards to athletics. For decades, female athletes were not taken seriously and therefore not given the same opportunities and resources as their male counterparts. Not even 2% of athletic budgets went towards female sports. You read that right, 2%. Women were not given access to scholarships or facilities or equipment. Their competitions didn’t even have championship games.
“In 1972 there were just 30,000 women participating in NCAA sports, as opposed to 170,000 men... 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 200,000.”
The revolution of Title IX has given us some of the greatest athletes we’ll ever see. Title IX allowed women to turn their sport into their career. Because of this we have the first champions of the women’s World Cup. We have an exploding league dedicated to women’s basketball. We have history making coaches and managers. Title IX has given us heroes and role models.
With the rise in numbers of female athletes, there has also been a significant rise in graduation rates for girls. The ability to play sports has shown time and time again to positively impact participation and motivation for girls in school. More opportunities for girls and women directly impacts communities and businesses and governments.
The passing of Title IX reaches so much further than just girls playing sports. It has helped girls to learn and grow into accomplished and skilled women. This is why we celebrate this milestone. 50 years of fighting for better. 50 years of fighting for equality. It hasn’t been easy, but it has changed everything.
Here’s to 50 more.
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