Title IX became law 50 years ago. That’s why it still matters.

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When I was a teenage athlete in the 1980s, I believed two things about my athletic background that turned out to be not entirely true: First, the reason I got into the sport so much was because my father was an athlete. Secondly, my teammates and I did things that the girls hadn’t done before.

I was born when my father was in his last year of college. I have a photo of him holding me in his cap and gown after the end of his last football season. When I grew up, he taught me how to throw a soccer ball, hit a baseball, and shoot a basketball. He coached my first football team. It was almost inevitable that I would be a tri-sport athlete and be recognized as “Most Athletic” in high school.

What I didn’t know was that just seven years before I became a varsity goaltender, my high school didn’t have a women’s soccer team. Seven years before I was invited to play at Xavier University, there was no women’s football program either. Both teams were created in the wake of programs created for girls and women in the late 70s and early 80s as educational institutions operated under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.

When Title IX went into effect on June 23, 1972, I was 1 year old. upcoming graphic memoir, “Guardian: Football, Me, and the Law That Changed Women’s Lives” because I wanted to know more about the law that has shaped my life. I wanted to know more about how and why Bernice Sandler and former representatives Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii), Shirley Chisholm (DN.Y.) and Edith Green (D-Ore) – together with others, drafted this 37-word piece of legislation. I wanted to learn more about the connection between women’s sports and women’s rights.

A hundred years ago, when women fought for the right to vote, they also fought for the right to play football. For a while, they succeeded. During World War I, competitive women’s football teams formed in England and Europe. One of the most successful teams, the Dick Kerr Ladies, played to a total of 900,000 spectators in 1921, often drawing more people than the men’s teams.

Can you guess what happened next? The same year, the British Football Association banned women from playing, calling the sport “unsuitable for women”. The association, in addition to wanting to regulate women’s bodies, did not want women to be fairly paid for their time and labor.

The ban remained in place for 50 years and was finally lifted in England at the same time Title IX was passed in the States, but the ladies of Dick Kerr demonstrated to a skeptical world that women were fit to play the sport. Wish I knew about them and Title IX when I was a little girl on the football field.

Notably, Title IX was never intended to affect the sport. All the central figures who worked on the law were denied admission or employment at the universities and sought to address the issue of gender discrimination in higher education. But as the one-sentence law is being interpreted, extra-curricular activities like sports have become an important aspect of the fight for equal opportunity. As a result, girls’ participation in high school sports increased by more than 1,000%, from 300,000 in 1972 to 300,000 in 1972. over 3 million Today.

We continue to argue about the interpretation and application of this law, which also applies to sexual abuse as well as gender identityand much remains to be done. Although Title IX was conceived by a diverse group of women, it disproportionately won by white women, like me. This applies to academic and athletic opportunities, as well as remedies for sexual assault. And the law continues to be under attack from administrations seeking to weaken it, as former education secretary Betsy DeVos successfully did. 2020 rules that limit the rights of victims in cases of sexual assault on college campuses.

New Title IX rules set to uphold the rights of transgender students

The history of women’s sports has always been inextricably linked with the history of women’s rights. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we must also renew our commitment to protecting his rights and combating discrimination in all forms. In doing so, we can draw inspiration from the creators of Section IX, whose efforts and support changed the world. This comic is about that struggle: past, present and future.

We publish gender and identity comics every Sunday. To stay up to date, follow @thelilynews on Instagram.

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