Megan finishes up her summer with a last swim in the lake near her grandmother’s house. Megan is excited to start high school and make new friends, however, she’d love to be in the water for just a little longer. When she learns her high school has a pool and is part of gym class, her eyes light up.
She thrives when the gym class heads to the pool. Her teacher notices and encourages her to tryout for the school swim team.
Megan, worries she’ll be good enough but she does her best and makes it onto the swim team. She learns from her coach and her teammates. She is encouraged, motivated, and shares that energy with her fellow teammates. She gets better and better.
She invites her friends and family to swim meets. They cheer her on and they see her hard work and talent. Other young girls in the audience see her as well.
Megan continues with swimming into college where she’s spotted by a coach that believes she could be an Olympic champion.
She works hard and battles for the perfect numbers that will get her on top of the scoreboard among the best in the world.
She makes her place on the Olympic team. People around the world hear her story of a little girl who loved to swim in the lake near her grandmother’s now has the opportunity for a gold medal for her country. Young and old cheer as Megan name reaches the top of the scoreboard securing a spot of the podium.
Among those people watching is a little girl named Jenny. Captivated by the sport on TV she asks her mom, “could that me one day?”
Jenny’s mother signs her up for a community swimming club and the cycle of influence spreads to more women and girls around the world.
Even though Megan and Jenny in our story is fictional their story is similar to thousands of female athletes because of Title IX.
Title IX changed the game for women in sports.
For many modern sports athletes, the opportunity to play in school allowed for the leap from exploring a sport to becoming a professional athlete.
But before 1972 opportunities for women and girls in school was scarce or non existent. College women made up 15% of all athletes. High School girls were only 7% of all athletes. Those who did participate found themselves raising their own money for uniforms, equipment and travel to even play.
Title IX has allowed for federally funded schools to provide the same access, quality of equipment, and exposure to women and girls.
Signed into law June 23, 1972
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Authored by Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, Title IX was an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and contained elements of the Equal Rights Amendment.
This act of legislation is not limited to sports, however it’s what’s it’s most known for as famous female athletes give it kudos for creating their path to success.
Think of your favorite athlete. Think about how they started.
- Was in a court or field in the neighborhood?
- Was the sport available in gym class?
- Did they have access to a team in high school or college?
- Did they become professionals from being discovered in school?
The opportunity that Title IX provides creates not only new role models who makes pro but also life skills of teamwork, collaboration, healthy competition, personal best and determination.
Because most schools, including private institutions, receive federal funding Title IX is everywhere and has changed the game for women.
The details of Title IX