In a world not that long ago, women in schools and institutions were barred from the same experiences as men, including in athletics.
Separate entrances, non-existent funding, scholarship and education inequities, push toward a path of maternity and no participation in athletics – the reality before the landmark policy, Title IX.
“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.” (NCAA).
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and people all over are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Signed on June 23, 1972, by President Nixon, the iconic year helped to break barriers for women in the United States.
Participation in athletics, the most well-known impact of the policy, helped young girls and women disrupt the expected gender norms to achieve their dreams and desires relating to sports.
“As a female collegiate athlete, I am so thankful that Title IX exists because, without it, I wouldn’t be able to participate in athletics. Title IX is something that is personal to me and all female athletes,” Jessica Ruk, junior Cabrini lacrosse and soccer player, said.
Strong, influential athletes, such as the Williams sisters, Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka would not have been able to participate in equally funded sports programs or organizations without Title IX.
“I’m glad we have Title IX because it helps fight the discrimination that women face in all areas, especially athletics. I might not have had the opportunity to play softball at Cabrini if it wasn’t for Title IX,” Sam Kilson, junior Cabrini softball player, said.
Sports equality is commonly the face of Title IX, but not only does it allow women to participate in federally funded programs and sports teams, but it also helps all women in general.
Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) says that Title IX is not just for athletics. “Title IX applies to educational institutions that receive any federal funds and prohibits discrimination in all educational programs and activities.”
Although Title IX is publicly seen as a law strictly for women and girls, Title IX surprisingly helps men and boys too.
“A continued effort to achieve educational equity has benefited all students by moving toward creation of school environments where all students may learn and achieve the highest standards,” the NCAA said.
Title IX requires that institutions and other federally funded recipients give the role of Title IX coordinator to a staff member or employee. At Cabrini University, Angela Campbell is the Title IX director. Jackie Neary, head coach of Cabrini’s lacrosse and field hockey teams, is the Title IX deputy director.
“The biggest thing from Title IX that has impacted me here at Cabrini would be receiving an NCAA grant over 15 years ago which made me a full-time employee of Cabrini,” Neary said.
The grant, called the Strategic Alliance Matching Grant, provides funding to schools and conferences, that are committed to ethnic minority and gender representation, for three years to help support newly hired employees.
“As a female athlete in the 80s, Title IX made sure our sports were receiving the same funding as the male teams, which made for an excellent experience for me and my fellow teammates,” Neary said.
Signing a law does not make injustices disappear. Continuing to make sure recipients of federal funds are following the law is the hard part.
As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Atlantic East Conference (AEC) held an event on April 10, 2022, called The Career in Sports Forum for Women, where student-athletes could learn more about Title IX and network for career opportunities.
“I learned a lot about Title IX and the importance of it…We have come a long way, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Ruk said.