Title IX at 40
NORTHFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Emily Miller remembers learning about Title IX during history class, probably sometime in junior high. She’s a little fuzzy on the details, including how and why it came about.
Every time she steps on the soccer field, though, she feels its effect.
At 16, Miller can’t even imagine who she’d be without the game. She’s played since kindergarten, and credits soccer for her independence and self-confidence. Now a starter on the varsity team at New Trier High School in suburban Chicago, she’s proud when someone describes her as “the athlete” or “the soccer player.”
“Soccer,” she said, “is what makes me Emily Miller.”
As Title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, the WNBA is in its 16th season, Hope Solo and Natalie Coughlin will be two of the biggest names at the London Olympics and participation numbers for women in college and high school athletics are at an all-time high. But perhaps the greatest legacy of the legislation originally intended to prohibit discrimination in education is found in Miller and the hundreds of thousands of girls like her: a generation of young women growing up strong and self-assured because of their participation in sports. A generation for whom sports is so ingrained in their lives, they can’t fathom being on the sidelines.
When I went to grade and high school, girls and boys were in separate gym classes and played different sports. We were told that certain sports were not appropriate for girls. So you’d never see the girls play baseball. They played softball. They never did track or wrestling. Too strenuous, I guess. They did field hockey. And forget about football.
I’m glad all of that nonsense is gone and girls can participate in all of the sports that boys can both inside and outside of school. - Waterman12053