Some young athletes don’t know much about Title IX…and maybe that’s not a bad thing June 30th, 2012
This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX–the legislation that made it illegal for educational institutions to discriminate on the basis of gender.
In its brief 37 words, Title IX doesn’t mention sports, but take a look around at any youth soccer or softball field and you’ll see sports is where some of the biggest gains in Title IX have been made. Little girls are playing sports by the millions.
When not watching the Heat’s run to a championship this week, I worked on a story about Title IX and spoke to coaches, administrators and athletes across Broward County. One of the things that surprised me the most was the reaction I got from some of the area’s top young female athletes. Most of them were familiar with the concept of Title IX, but they didn’t know or understand the specifics. Others didn’t know what I was talking about at all when I asked what they knew about Title IX.
My first reaction was to be stunned. I mean, how could these girls who have benefitted so much because of Title IX not know about the legislation? But after a few minutes, it hit me…they don’t know much about Title IX because they don’t have to.
For many current high school athletes, the concept of gender equality is as normal as breathing. For them, it’s hard to conceive of a time when girls and women didn’t play sports. The idea of playing on outdoor courts while boys got plushy gyms is stunning. In their world, that just happen. And if it does, it’s time to speak up. The WNBA has pretty much always been around. (For the record, the league began play in 1997).
I guess when you look at it that way, Title IX is an absolute success. We’ve come from girls not playing sports to a world where competing is part of regular life. Dillard girls basketball player Kayla Wright jokingly told me that sometimes, the gym is more packed when the three-time defending state champion girls team takes the court then when the Panthers boys play.
Think you could have said the same 15 years ago? 20 years ago? Probably not.
No wonder some young athletes don’t quite grasp Title IX. Fact is, they’ve never had to. And maybe that’s not a bad thing at all. The mindset about women in sports seems to have finally shifted.
This entry was posted on Saturday, June 30th, 2012 at 10:20 pm and is filed under School Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.