Title IX: 40 years later
July 26, 2012
It’s probably a wonderful thing that Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady didn’t write the legislation that led to equal participation and spending in sports at an academic level. There is a good chance that the gains that women athletes have made may have never happened.
June 23rd marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX. This landmark piece of legislation prohibits sex discrimination in education. That means schools and colleges receiving federal funds are required to give women and girls an equal chance to play sports.
According to the Women’s Law Center, the number of female college athletes has increased from 31,852 to 150,916. This represents a dramatic increase in participation since the 1972 enactment. The law's impact on high school participation has also been dramatic. In 1972, high school girl's sports participation was approximately 300,000. Today, high school girls playing sports is estimated to be over 2.78 million. This year the U.S. Olympic Team contains 269 women and 261 men.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Betty Lennox, a WNBA World Champion who also was the championship MVP. If it were up to folks like Henry Higgins, I may have never met such a wonderful person who made the best of their athletic career.
Thank goodness Mr. Higgins wasn’t part of the movement that resulted in this landmark legislation.
South Independence Branch