Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Title IX Improved the Lives of Women

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Title IX Improved the Lives of Women

Article excerpt

Since Title IX was passed 40 years ago, America has come a long way in providing more opportunities for women.

The law was intended to cover a variety of activities that involve federal funding, but it has drawn the most attention for more equality in athletics.

Just look at how acceptable it is today to have female lawyers, doctors, mechanics, carpenters - you name it.

Laws like Title IX paved the way for this greater acceptance of women in all roles of society. It's about opportunity.

In 1971-72, the year before Title IX was passed, only 294,015 girls took part in high school sports in America compared to 3.7 million boys.

By 2010-11, it was 3.2 million girls and 4.5 million boys in high school sports, reported Education Week.

But on a broader scale, more than half of all college graduates are women today.

The percentage of female law school graduates has risen from 7 percent in 1972 to 47 percent in 2011.

So we asked some female members of our Email Interactive Group what Title IX has meant to them and their families.

WHAT IT USED TO BE

I grew up before girls had all of the advantages of Title IX - before Little League included girls, before high school sports teams or college sports scholarships were widely available to girls.

As a female attorney in the 1980s, I saw real differences between my contemporaries and our younger colleagues.

The younger women, benefitting from years on sports teams, more easily became team players and more successfully navigated the give-and-take of negotiations and the wins-and-losses in the courtroom. How wonderful that these advantages are now taken for granted!

Susan Raab, Amelia Island

OPPORTUNITIES WERE LOST

Title IX has opened doors for so many females in our country. I loved all sports as a child (1950s), but my father frowned on me participating in sports as it was not ladylike. I loved the time period in which I grew up, but sports were a closed door issue.

I so wish I could have done what girls have the opportunity to do today! It thrills me to see how high the bar has been raised due to Title IX!

Anne Shumaker, Jacksonville

IT GOES BEYOND SPORTS

When Title IX was passed, I was serving on the Commission for Women in a Mid-Atlantic state, and we strongly supported this law. I remembered my own high school days in the late 1950s when girls field hockey and tennis were the only "spectator sports" played, and those had very small attendance.

Compared that to today. I see my 13-year-old granddaughter playing soccer for her school, and my 7-year-old granddaughter is in triathlons - all with quite a large following of fans.

Sports scholarships for my generation were almost non-existent. Today, girls in high school can look to any number of colleges to provide the opportunity to play sports, receive financial assistance and participate with quality equipment, motivated coaches and well-attended arenas. …

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