This week marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which undoubtedly improved the lives of women and girls in the United States. Of course, there is still an incredible amount that needs to be done to level the playing field (as it were) between male and female athletes in schools. For example, over the years we’ve seen schools create work-arounds or straight up fail to enforce the law. However even with these shortcomings, the fact that Title IX exists creates a mechanism to highlight the inequities between male and female athletic programs. Thus, to recognize the 40th anniversary of this historic legislation, here is a round-up of coverage — both good and bad – from around the internet.
USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan has a great piece on how far Title IX has come and how necessary it is now more than ever. She argues that women’s participation in sports informs women’s participation in other male-dominated areas: “No matter what you think of Sarah Palin, we all can agree that she is one strong-willed politician. She also was the starting point guard on her high school basketball team, as well as a cross-country runner. Just like countless male politicians before her, she was a jock. . . . Think of that girl-athlete you see in the kitchen every morning. Whatever she is going to become — a mother, a lawyer, a doctor, a businesswoman, a coach, a teacher, or some combination thereof — she will be better at it because she played sports.” (**goosebumps**)
This one’s from a few months ago. Anna Clark at Grantland discusses Title IX in the movies. She highlights all the classics, and also makes the point that “40 years after Title IX, women who play sports are not athletes so much as ‘female athletes.’ They are the modifier, not the noun. There’s still an air of novelty about women’s sports.”
ESPN has a slideshow of the “Top 40 female athletes.” I’m not sure why this has to be on ESPNW (that is a post for another day) or how many of these women ESPN would include on a “Top 40 athletes” slideshow, but nevertheless let’s these women’s achievements are truly inspirational.
Title IX Blog looks at another section of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 803, which slowed down racial desegregation efforts in schools by staying court orders requiring bussing as a means to desegregate.
Roy Exum at The Chattanoogan writes about Yale University’s recent efforts to ramp up compliance with Title IX, particularly with respect to sexual harassment complaints.
And because there’s always one rotten apple in bushel: Frank Deford has a lovely opinion piece on Sports Illustrated entitled ”After 40 years of Title IX, why can’t a woman be more like a fan?“ First he predicts that football will cease to exist because of Title IX, since it has no female analogue (oh and also, he adds, because it causes serious brain damage). But here’s the ultimate kicker:
To be sure, yes, there are many women sports fans, but their numbers and passion are miniscule compared to the mass of male spectators. But so what? Androgyny be hanged. Sometimes the sexes simply have different tastes in amusement. Women, for example, read the vast preponderance of novels. Novels are about imagination. Sports are literal. They keep score in games. . . . Myself, I think we’ve already got quota enough of women being like men. But the question for the next forty years of Title IX will be: Why can’t a woman be more like a fan?