W.Hein Title IX was signed into law in 1972, with neither its supporters nor its opponents thinking about the sport. The law was intended to address systemic gender inequalities in education, especially in admissions to colleges and undergraduate programs, as part of a larger package of legislation.
It was only later that lawmakers and the Department of Athletics realized that Title IX’s mandate – not to discriminate on the basis of gender in any educational program or federally funded activity – would have far-reaching implications for sports, from youth to university. Athletics.
Fifty years later, women’s and girls’ participation in sports has grown exponentially, and American women’s professional sports are on the rise. But it’s not just university teams or athletic scholarship recipients who have benefited from the law: Title IX encouraged a cultural change that enabled women and girls to rethink their relationship with their bodies and see themselves as athletes. They were sweating for fun, fitness or competition.
In other ways, however, Title IX has not lived up to its promise. There are still huge gender disparities in sports due to widespread lack of law enforcement, and white women and girls have benefited more than color. Meanwhile, recent legislation in 18 states prohibits or threatens transgender or non-binary athletes from competing, raising the question of whether IX will fight for this marginalized group or become a weapon against them.
“We shouldn’t talk about Title IX based on mythology,” says Karen Hartman, a professor at Idaho State University who studies sports in the United States. “The law is still in danger. The law is still under interpretation. “
How far we have come
In 1972, opportunities for girls and women to play sports were limited: only 294,000 girls played high school sports, compared to more than 3.6 million boys in the United States, and fewer than 30,000 women played college sports, with most schools offering no or very little athletics. Scholarships for women, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
The law greatly improved those numbers. Within four years of passing the title IX, the number of girls playing high school sports increased by 600 percent. Today, 3.4 million girls play high school games, and 215,000 women play college games.
But make no mistake: Although athletic opportunities for women have increased, women have always played sports, says Amira Rose Davis, an assistant professor of history and African American studies at Penn State University and co-host of the feminist sports podcast. Burn everyone. They often don’t have a safe place to do it, she says, and “other people should have found a place to do it without having to worry about how their bodies should move or what sports they should play.”
Of course, in the pre-title IX, there was “hysteria” around women playing sports or just exercising, Hartmann said, pointing to the myth that a woman’s uterus would fall out when she ran too far, and that women should not ride bikes. Because doing so can make them look unpleasant. Women were “looking for ways to be physically fit while maintaining femininity standards,” she says
Title IX— Women’s liberation movement and passage, including the great cultural change around physical autonomy and femininity Ro v. Wade-Women began to restore the relationship in their own body. It covers all kinds of physical activities for women, such as cheerleading and competitive dancing, and the rise of the fitness industry, starting with aerobics and jogging, as we know it today, says Davis. (Today, about 60 percent of young adult women are physically active, according to a recent study.)
With the founding of the WNBA in 1996 and the success of American women in football, basketball, hockey, and other sports at the 1996, 1998, and 2000 Olympics and the 1999 World Cup, women’s professional sports began to flourish. With these emerging events came new female sports fans, and a new culture of sports love. Those women who never participated in sports or fitness also achieved something, Hartman says. Seeing female athletes become stronger, other women may also feel that their bodies are stronger. “Title IX opens up space to rearrange how women really feel about having children or taking care of others to make our bodies stronger and stronger. Even when women don’t need to participate,” she says.
And the Title IX kids were achieving not only success in sports, but success in life. A recent study of 400 female corporate executives found that 94 percent of them played sports at school, and seven percent earned more. Playing sports is also linked to better physical health, better grades in school, higher graduation rates, and more confidence and self-esteem – before Title IX was largely unavailable to women and girls.
Where we still have to go
Today girls have more opportunities to play sports than they did 50 years ago. But they still don’t have as much as boys did in 1972, and according to a recent report by the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls’ participation in high school sports is still about one million behind that of boys.
And although women make up about 60 percent of enrolled college students, they make up only 44 percent of college athletes. In 2019-20, male athletes received $ 252 million more in athletic scholarship than female athletes.
These inequalities remain at least partial because the title IX has no teeth. The Department of Education is largely responsive to non-compliance research, and no institution has revoked federal funding because of it. (Hartmann says it is believed that about 80 percent of organizations are out of compliance with Title IX.)
A recent study from USA Today Many top universities have men who practice with women’s teams as women, double- and triple-count as female athletes, and women’s rowing teams as packed with unnecessary athletes, who never compete and often don’t even practice.
Not only is there a difference of opportunity in many of these organizations that violate Title IX; It is also Quality Of those opportunities. The USA Today The study found that for every dollar spent on recruitment for travel, equipment, and men’s teams, they spent only 71 cents on women. Highly successful women’s programs such as the University of Oregon basketball team also fly commercially, while less successful men’s team charter flights. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, perhaps the most influential team in the history of college sports, receives almost एक 1 million less than UConn’s men’s team. (Title IX helped during the epidemic, when budget cuts were often needed. Women’s teams were often on the cutting block for the first time. In at least nine cases, athletes were able to challenge the cuts in their programs.)
In some instances, Title IX has taken a step back. Prior to 1972, 90 percent of women’s collegiate teams were trained by women (although these positions were often unpaid or underpaid). Once these jobs became more attractive, women were pushed out in large numbers, and today the NCAA makes up only 41 percent of the head coaches for women’s teams. Title IX also had the unintended consequences of disrupting women’s pre-existing sports venues, Davis says, as historically black colleges and universities, which had strong women’s basketball programs before Title IX but struggled to compete with larger schools after they started. Investment in women’s team.
And perhaps surprisingly, not all girls and women benefit equally. White, suburban girls have benefited the most from the limited opportunities available to girls of color, girls with disabilities, girls from rural and urban areas, and LGBTQ + players. Not all sports are equally developed. Those who have seen the biggest increase in girls’ participation are less accessible, such as tennis, golf, swimming and field hockey, Davis says. Where black women are more represented – basketball and track – has grown less.
Of course, no Title IX makes professional sports accountable, where there is a huge gender gap between pay and treatment. And in the media, women’s sports stories occupy only about four percent of the coverage, a number that has not decreased in the last 30 years. When female athletes receive coverage, Hartman points out, it is often linked to their motherhood, or their act of social justice, rather than their athletic skills. (This lack of coverage not only creates inequality, but also creates an environment where abuse is more likely to occur, says Davis.)
“A lot of the battles in professional sports are still about reducing the basics,” says Davis. “It’s been 50 years, and a lot of the conversations and fights feel like they might be happening 25 years ago, or 45 years ago.”
Before the battle
The progress of women’s sports may seem one step ahead and three steps back. Nevertheless, there have been significant gains recently, as the American women’s national football team has finally won its battle for equal pay; A new collective bargaining agreement for the WNBA and the National Women’s Football League that includes benefits such as salary increases and reproductive treatment and paid parental leave; And NCAA is working to level the men’s and women’s championships Viral TikTok Two basketball competitions last year called for obvious discrepancies in the weight classes.
And while the mainstream sports media is ignoring women, women are creating their own outlets. Davis points to the growing number of podcasts focused on women’s sports, and sites such as Just Women’s Sports are filling in the blanks with a special focus on women.
Title IX could eventually get a tooth too: Congresswoman Alma Adams is working on a federal bill to strengthen the implementation of the law, which will be introduced at the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, June 23.
“Title IX is complex and incomplete. But it’s the basis for building,” says Davis. “It simply came to our notice then. It’s about making those ideas workable and tangible and real. ”