WThe IX title was signed into law in 1972, not his supporters or opponents were thinking about sports. The law, just a short section within a broad section of the law, was intended to address gender equality in education, particularly in admission to colleges and graduate programs.
It was only later that lawmakers and athletics departments realized that the Title IX mandate — that no one will be discriminated against on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding — would have a profound effect on sports, from youth to university. . athletics.
Fifty years later, the number of women and girls’ participation in sports has skyrocketed, and the American women’s sports profession is on the rise. But it wasn’t just those who formed a varsity team or got an athletic sponsorship that benefited from the law: Title IX sparked cultural change that gave women and girls the opportunity to rethink their relationships with their bodies and see themselves as athletes, whether they were sweating for fun, balanced, or competitive.
However, in some ways, IX Head has not fulfilled its promise. Severe sexual harassment still exists in sports due to the prevalence of lawlessness, and white women and girls have benefited more than those of color. At the same time, recent legislation in 18 states prohibits or threatens to ban transgender athletes or illegal athletes from competition, thus raising questions about whether the IX Head will be used to fight against this marginalized or armed group against them.
“We should not talk about IX Head in a way that is imaginary,” says Karen Hartman, a professor at Idaho State University who studies sports in the United States. “The law is still under threat. The law is still being interpreted.”
Where have we come from?
In 1972, opportunities for girls and women to play sports were limited: Only 294,000 girls in the United States played high school sports compared to more than 3.6 million boys, and less than 30,000 women played university sports, with many schools giving or without very athletic. scholarships for women, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
The law significantly improved those numbers. Within just four years of the Title IX clause, the number of girls playing high school sports increased by 600 percent. Today, 3.4 million girls play high school sports, and 215,000 women play college sports.
But don’t miss it: Although athletic opportunities for women have increased dramatically, women have always played sports, says Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of African history and studies at Penn State University and co-host of the women’s sports podcast. Burn All. They often did not have a safe place to do so, he says, and they had to find “a place to do it without other people telling them how their bodies should move or what sports they should play.”
Indeed, before the IX Head there was “hysteria” around women playing sports or even just exercising, says Hartman, citing the myth that a woman’s uterus could collapse if she ran too fast, and the idea that women should not ride a bike. because they can make an unpleasant face doing so. Women had sought ways to “be physically present while maintaining the principles of femininity,” she says
IX theme — with major cultural changes regarding body and femininity, including women’s liberation movements and adoption Roe against Wade– began to redefine women’s relationships with their own bodies. This marked the rise of all kinds of physical activity for women, such as cheering and competitive dancing, and the rise of the gymnastics industry as we know it today, starting with aerobics and jazzercise, says Davis. (Today, about 60 percent of young women do physical activity, according to a recent study.)
By the 1990s, women’s professional sports flourished, with the introduction of the WNBA in 1996 and the success of American women in soccer, basketball, hockey, and other sports at the 1996, 1998, and 2000 Olympics. World Cup 1999. With these budding programs came new fans of women’s sports, and a new culture of sports fanaticism. Even those women who have never participated in sports or equality themselves got something, says Hartman. By looking at female athletes being stronger, some women may feel like their bodies were stronger, too. “The IX headline provided an opportunity for women to adjust how we feel about our bodies from being things that should be babies or caring for others to being strong and powerful. Even if women don’t have to participate,” she says.
With Title IX kids were not only graduating in success in sports, but success in life. A recent study of 400 female corporate executives found that 94 percent of them had played sports in school, and those who earned seven percent more. Playing sports has also been linked to better physical health, better grades in school, higher graduation rates, and more self-confidence and self-esteem — benefits that before Head IX were not widely available for women and girls.
Where we still have to go
Girls today have more opportunities to play sports than they did 50 years ago. But they still do not have as many boys as they did in 1972, and girls’ participation in high school sports still follows nearly one million boys, according to a recent report by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
And although women make up about 60 percent of the college students enrolled, they make up just 44 percent of the university athletes. In 2019-20, male athletes received $ 252 million more in athletic sponsorship than female athletes.
This imbalance persists at least in part because the IX Head has no teeth. The Department of Education is largely careful rather than careful in investigating non-compliance, and no institution has ever been denied government funding because of it. (Hartman says it is believed that about 80 percent of institutions do not follow IX Head.)
Recent research from USA Leo shows that many top universities are systematically stealing numbers to be seen in the best obedience of the IX Head, by counting men who practice with women’s teams as women, women athletes who count two or three times, and closing women’s rowing teams and unnecessary athletes who have never competed with. they often do not even exercise.
It is not just the gap of opportunity in many of these institutions that violates IX Title; it is also quality of those opportunities. The USA Leo The study found that for every dollar college used for transportation, equipment, and recruiting men’s teams, they spent only 71 cents on women. Even the most successful women’s programs, such as the University of Oregon basketball team, are broadcast commercially with the less successful men’s team issuing patents. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, perhaps the most dominant team in university sports history, receives nearly $ 1 million in funding from the UConn men’s team. (The IX title helped during this epidemic, when women’s teams were often the first to limit when budget cuts were necessary. In at least nine cases, athletes succeeded in reducing their program cuts.)
In some cases, Title IX has caused a setback. Prior to 1972, 90 percent of women’s college teams were trained by women (although these positions were often unpaid or underpaid). As soon as these jobs became more profitable, women were largely pushed out, and today only 41 percent of the head coaches of women teams in the NCAA. Head IX also had the unintended consequence of disrupting positions where women were already playing sports, says Davis, such as Blacks’ universities and historic universities, which had solid women’s basketball programs before Head IX but struggled. competing with the big schools once they started. invest in women’s teams.
And perhaps not surprising, not all girls and women have benefited equally. White, urban girls have been the main beneficiaries, with few opportunities available to girls of color, girls with disabilities, girls in rural and urban areas, and LGBTQ + athletes. Not all games have grown the same. Those who have seen a significant increase in girls’ participation have become increasingly inaccessible, such as tennis, golf, swimming, and hockey clubs, says Davis. Those where black women are over-represented — basketball and athletics — have grown a little older.
Of course, there is no Title IX responsible for professional sports, where major gender gaps in pay and treatment continue. And in the media, women’s sports stories cover only about 4 percent of the news, a number that has not diminished in the last 30 years. When female athletes receive the vaccine, Hartman points out, it is often associated with their parenting, or their social justice work, rather than their athletic prowess. (This lack of coverage not only promotes diversity, but also creates an environment where abuse is more likely to occur, says Davis.)
“Most of the struggles in professional sports are still about lowering the foundations,” Davis says. “It’s been 50 years, and a lot of talk and war feels like it could have happened 25 years ago, or 45 years ago.”
The battle ahead
Progress in women’s sports can feel like one step forward and three steps back. Still, there have been significant successes in recent years, such as the American Women’s National Football Team finally winning its equal pay battle; new WNBA collective bargaining agreements with the National Women’s Football League that increase salaries and include benefits such as maternity treatment and paid parental leave; and the NCAA working to balance the men’s and women’s competitions after a TikTok virus he cited significant differences in weightlifting in two basketball tournaments last year.
And while the mainstream sports media may continue to ignore women, women create their own media. Davis points out the growing number of podcasts highlighting women’s sports, and sites such as Women’s Games Only fill the gap focusing on women only.
IX title may finally get its teeth: Congress MP Alma Adams is working on a government bill to strengthen law enforcement, which will be presented at the 50th anniversary of the death of Title IX, June 23.
“The IX title is hard and unfinished. But it is quite the foundation to build,” says Davis. “It is possible as it was 50 years ago. It is about making these ideas come true and make them look real. ”