Celebrate Women in Sports

February 06, 2008

Wednesday, Feb. 6, is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a day to celebrate the great “strides” that women and girls have made in sports at all levels. Over the last 35 years, Title IX has dramatically increased the number of girls and women participating in school sports. In fact, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, chaired by AAUW, recently released a new report on the effect Title IX has had on sex discrimination, both on and off the playing field.

AAUW’s Capitol Hill Lobby Corps has been busy delivering copies of Title IX at 35: Beyond the Headlines to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and urging them to support legislation that will help us find out how well Title IX is being enforced in our high schools and where we might need to make improvements. You too can ask your representative to support the High School Athletics Accountability Act using AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist tool.

On this day to celebrate girls and women in sports, we invite you to share your thoughts about the influence sports and Title IX have had in your life. How did being a female athlete positively affect you or someone you know? Why do you feel it’s important that we continue our work on Title IX?

By:   |   February 06, 2008


  1. Sandy Kirkpatrick says:

    Oh, how I wish Title IX had come along sooner! It was passed while I was in high school, and it took many years for the school district in which I grew up to even start coming into compliance.

    Of the sports available to girls at the time, I took advantage of swimming and basketball. You asked how sports participation affected my life, and HK’s comments rang so true for me! It gave me confidence, helped me learn how to set goals and work (hard!) to achieve them, and introduced me to a wider circle of friends than I would have otherwise encountered.

    I also remember distinctly the frustration of watching my brother play community soccer and having no such opportunity because they didn’t have girls’ teams.

    Although girls now have many more opportunities than they did when Title IX passed 35 years ago, I won’t be satisfied until every girl is welcomed in EVERY sport, and until they stop writing different rules for girls teams (i.e., smaller size ball in basketball, no hitting in hockey, etc).

    Take a look at the California Online Branch’s LAF blog (the link is in the right column of this page) to see the write-up and comments about the Feb 2-3, 2008 presentation by UC Davis’ former women’s wrestling coach on this topic.

  2. HK says:

    I think the enforcement of Title IX is very important. Athletics has played an important role in my life. I love to run and I know and appreciate that my ability to become a runner has been in great part because of Title IX and the more widespread acceptance of female athletes.

    When my mom was growing up, there was no Title IX and she has told me how her brothers ran on the cross country and track team in school, but there was no team for girls nor were there girls on the boys team and so she never thought about joining even though she enjoyed running. As adults both she and my dad took up running and because of them, I was introduced to it. I ran in my first 5k road race with them when I was 8 years old and my first marathon with my dad when I was 14 years old.

    As a teenager, my family moved several times and I had to attend several schools in different parts of the country. Starting in 6th grade, I ran on the cross country and track teams of whatever school I was attending. Being a runner and on a running team gave me an identity during turbulent teenage years, goals to strive for, a place to show my competitive side, confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and friends at new schools; some of my closest friends today are people I met on my high school cross country teams. I ran cross country at the college level my freshman year and continue to run in road races as an adult.

    On a different note, I think there is a ways to go before female athletes and their sporting events are treated with as much respect and interest as those of males. Women’s events are usually given less press and have lower attendence, even when the women’s teams are better than the men’s teams! So while it’s now acceptable for women to be athletes, it’s not popular to watch or support them – the residue of continuing sexism…?

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