Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Celebrating Title IX

I was not an athletic child.

It probably wouldn't have matter much if I was. The only sports available to girls in my high school were field hockey and cheer leading. Athletic girls had to fit themselves into one of these two narrowly defined categories. There were no intramural sports for women when I first got to Wesleyan.

That all changed thirty seven years ago today when Title IX was enacted, requiring schools and colleges to offer equal athletic opportunities to girls and young women. I was actually interning that summer for Congressman Stewart McKinney, and I wrote his testimony on why his daughters deserved the same opportunities to participate in high quality sports as his son. I remember how thrilled we were when the bill passed.

Title IX changed the world for young girls and young women, who have the whole world of sports opened to them. My daughter and my nieces were soccer players, basketball players, and karate students in elementary schools. Many of the women reading this probably can't imagine a time when young women didn't participate in athletics.

The White House is featuring photos of women athletes today.

Oh, and me? I still don't participate in team sports, but I love yoga, working out, hiking, cross country skiing, and dancing. And today, there are probably classes or clubs in most high schools for those.

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