The legislation, signed in 1972, aimed to level the playing field for women.
“The first lobbyists for the bill did not think about sports, they thought about wider educational access,” says Laura Mogulescu. “But sport quickly became a flashpoint.”
Mogulescu is one of the curators of an exhibition to be opened in May at the New York Historical Society called Title IX: Activism on and off the field.
“If you look at the number of girls and women who were interested in athletics, those numbers have increased so much in the last 50 years,” he said.
This growth has been partially reinforced by more schools offering girls’ sports, especially at the college level, enabling girls to not just compete but pursue professional careers.
The exhibition highlights some of these incredible successes: clothes by Serena Williams, toys depicting female athletes, and a box of Wheaties with Mia Hamm.
And then there is what Title IX has done for women in terms of education.
“The number of women who have graduated from college and postgraduate has increased a lot,” Mogulescu said. “And after that, there is an increase in women in their professional careers.”
The actual legislation of Title IX is just 37 words, 37 words that have changed so much. But so few words continue to require constant support.
“One thing that became clear in the report is that its protections and enforcement depend to a large extent on the presidential administrations,” Mogelescu said. “Thus, the work of activism is never really done … in terms of ensuring everyone has access to education.”
Therefore, this year’s 50th anniversary is a time to reflect on progress – but also to note the inequalities that still exist and need to be addressed.
ABC’s ABC and Localish TV stations feature 50 nationwide inspirational stories about Fifty / 50 as part of the Walt Disney Company landmark project initiative Emphasizing the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, the federal law on civil rights that prohibits gender discrimination in any federally funded educational institution, gives women equal opportunities to play.
The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ESPN, Localish and this station.
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