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Are We There Yet? vol. 119

As I write this on Thursday, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Title IX legislation signed into law by Richard Nixon in June 1972.  Title IX states “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.”  While the application of the law is broad, I primarily think of it in reference to women’s athletics.   

Prior to the enactment of the law, according to Axios, about 294,000 girls were participating in high school sports while women represented just 15% of NCAA athletes.  Today, approximately 3.4 million girls participate in high school sports and women represent about 44% of NCAA athletes. An Ohio University publication shows that in 1972, only 2% of school budgets were dedicated to women’s athletics with very few scholarships available for women.  In 2010, the allocation of school athletic budgets for women had increased to 40% with 48% of athletic scholarships to Division 1 schools going to women. 

While Title IX has been associated with controversies, especially where schools have eliminated some men’s sports programs to more evenly allocate resources, it’s clear that Title IX has provided incredible opportunities for girls and women and not just in sports.  

However, more than the legal requirements, I think Title IX has had a much bigger emotional and psychological impact on society by expanding gender roles.  While girls have always been able to dream the same dreams as boys, the ability to live them out was limited.  Now, Title IX as well as changes in societal views provide girls the opportunity to pursue dreams at the NCAA level and beyond.  Just last month, women on the U.S. national soccer team settled their case for a multi-million dollar payment and the promise to equalize pay with the men’s national team.  Even though statistics continue to demonstrate the gender pay gap, it is encouraging to see progress over the past 50 years, and I believe that we are all better for it.

Take care and stay safe.

BOOK:

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.