Growing up, I was always surrounded by sports. Every day I would come home from school to play basketball, baseball, football, or whatever with my brother and his friends. During the summer, we would be outside constantly and my mom always had to drag us into the house at night because we never wanted to stop playing. I would be so jealous of my brother and his friends when they had games with their teams because while I had to sit on the sidelines and annoy my dad to play with me during timeouts or have a catch on the side, they got to play for real. So when I was old enough to play on my own teams whether it was for CYO leagues, club teams, and even school, I was ecstatic. I was finally going to be able to play for a reason other than for having fun; I would be able to get excited for practices and then get nervous for game days. Having this feeling and being a part of a team is really unique and that is why I am so thankful for the ability to play the sports I love because 50 years ago, that wasn’t even a question for women.
Title IX became effective in June of 1972 and was a new law that stated, “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…” This new law made such an impact on women’s rights, especially in sports. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played varsity high school sports. By 2001, one in every 2.5 girls played, meaning a total of 2.8 million girls played varsity sports. Before Title IX, athletic scholarships for women were virtually nonexistent because so few women were involved with sports. According to NOW, in 2003, there was more than $1 million in scholarships for women at Division I schools.
The participation of women in sports has dramatically increased in the United States as you can see from the statistics but Title IX had a global effect. From this pdf file you can see that participation of women in the Olympics has drastically changed as well. For example, in 1960, there were only 611 women who participated which made up about 11.4% of the overall participation. However, in 2012, (which marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX) there was 4,676 women participants which made up almost half of the overall participation. Women’s participation in sports has come a long way since 1972 but there are still strides that we need to make. It was only until this past Olympics in London for women in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei to be able to participate. When it came to sports, female athletes were barred from the Olympic Games because they would be participating in front of a mixed-gender crowd. Even though this article is talking about how these three countries allowed women to participate, there are still many restrictions for women.
Although there have been great strides in the women’s participation in sports, there is still a gap among men and women when it comes to athletics. This is not on the basis of participation but the attitude towards them and how women’s sports are treated compared to men’s sports. Just this article on funding shows how there are still many problems that need to be solved. When will we get gender equality in sports? Will there always be a gap between men’s and women’s sports or will we continue to push towards gender equality? Why do you think it took so long for countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei to allow women to participate in sports?