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6/16/22 blog post

50 years of Title IX

This year, we are recognizing the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.” Almost all colleges and universities, private and public, receive federal funding.

Long story short--this law, passed in 1972, gives boys and girls equal access to school-funded programs, like athletics. It also protects against sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence.

According to the New York Times, before Congress passed Title IX, about 30,000 women played college sports. And approximately 294,000 girls were playing high school sports in 1971, compared with 3.7 million boys, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

So, what does Title IX mean for sports 50 years later?

Since 1972, there have been huge strides made to help bring equity and equality to sports.

The U.S. women’s soccer team now receives the same pay as their male counterparts. During the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Team USA was made up of mostly female athletes (54%). In 2021, more than 219,000 women participated in college sports, making up 44 percent of college athletes, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and in 2019, 3.4 million girls participated in high school sports, compared to 4.5 million boys.

It’s also become clear that female athletes have unique needs when it comes to athletics. Issues like menstruation, bone density and RED-S are unique to the female athlete and is one of the reasons the Center for the Female Athlete at Dayton Children’s Hospital was created.

We recognized that this population didn’t have a space that would treat them as a WHOLE athlete, not just their injury. The Center for the Female Athlete cares for their physical, nutritional, and mental health so that girls in the program have the resources they need to thrive and leave the program more confident on and off the field.

“I feel this anniversary marks for every female, the beginning of opportunities for them,” said Jamie Broz, MEd, ATC, manager for the Center for the Female Athlete. “There is still work to do and the recognition of the anniversary reminds me to reflect on being the "only female" on many sports teams and in my career. What I look forward to is the ceiling being raised, not necessarily to surpass the males in our field, but to surpass what we are capable of as women.”

While the work to bring equality to sports continues, 50 years after the passage of Title IX, female athletes are showing us each and every day why they deserve a seat at the table and that they have the power to be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do.