Title IX at 40: Still Getting Girls Off the Sidelines
Posted: June 25, 2012
Four decades ago, only about one in 27 girls in the United States participated in sports. They did not have the same access to coaches as boys, their athletic facilities were not of comparable quality, and their athletic events were not accorded equal attention and resources.
That began to change on June 23, 1972, with the passage of legislation that banned gender-based discrimination in programs at schools receiving federal funds. That part of the Education Amendments of 1972 — a law that amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — is commonly referred to as Title IX.
As Title IX marks its 40th anniversary, U.S. swimming champion Natalie Coughlin and U.S. soccer star Hope Solo are two of the most prominent athletes competing at the 2012 Olympic Games, and girls across the United States — including Illinois secondary school student Aly Marzonie, above — participate in college and secondary school athletics in record numbers.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton remarked on the value of sports in her own life, recalling her experiences as a young girl.
“Sports helped me learn how to be part of a team,” she said. “It also helped me learn how to lose. You can’t win every time you go out, and you have to figure out what you’re made of after you do lose and whether you’re ready to get up and keep going. And I had a lot of fun.”
“Title IX was revolutionary, and I think all of us who care about opportunities for girls and women view it as one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for women in our country’s history,” Clinton said.