The Title IV documents were a huge step in equaling the rights of women and men. The documents showed the United States, if not the world, that women were a force to be reckoned with. Until recently, a woman’s job was to be home and take care of the house and kids. If anybody went up to a woman and tell her to stay home and take care of the house and kids, she would probably look at that person with a look of confusion. She would also probably ask that person if they had been living under a rock for the past 30 years.
A woman today can be anything she wants to be. She could be a housewife if she wanted, a doctor, lawyer, fashion designer, etc. the possibilities are endless for a woman. Although, the pay may not be equal to a man and a woman may receive less respect than a man, jobs themselves have become unisex.
In March 1976, the women’s crew of Yale stripped their clothes off in front of the director of women’s athletics. Joni Barnett, the director, wrote a letter stating that “it is not within my province to accomplish any more than I have already done.” This should not be an excuse for anything because she is the director of an entire group of organizations. If she honestly believed in getting showers for the team, she would have been able to get them a when the team first started. After the letter was written the showers were finally installed after some time with temporary showers for the team.
Another instance of women’s athletics going without what men were offered was in 1992. Cynthia Pemberton, the assistant athletic director at Linfield College in Oregon, wrote about how she found out about Title IX and how she was willing to risk it all to make the sports world equal, at least at Linfield. Her boss, Ad Rutschman, was head of the men’s sports and Cynthia was head of the women’s sports.
The discussion that took place between Ad and Cynthia was over a concession stand. The two argued over whether the concession should be open for all sports or just some. For her whole career at Linfield the two of them had followed a rule on the concession, “our policy and practice then was that a particular men’s sport booster (a financial supporter of the athletic program) was in charge of running the concession stand.” Ad basically said that if the booster did not feel like running the concession then the concession would not be run. Cynthia did not think that was exactly fair because that would give the women a chance to make some money in aspirations of becoming a wealthier team like the men.
In May 1991, Brown University decided to demote women’s volleyball and gymnastics to a club status. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided that the only way Brown could save their case from loss was if they said their teams that were demoted were if there was no interest or ability in the sports. There was only one problem with that, “the women’s gymnastics team, for example, won the Ivy League championship in 1990.” So after all, the Supreme Court decided that Brown did not pass the three part test and needed to change their ways.
In the very beginning of Title IX, Lucy Jane Bledsoe was in high school and wanted to play high school basketball. Nobody ever questioned why the boys had team sports rather than individual sports like the girls had. Lucy was invited to be part of a panel in Portland, Oregon. It was there that she learned about Title IX. She learned “that my high school, like most schools in the country, was not in compliance.”
After she found out that she could do something to change the way her high school viewed girls sports she jumped at the opportunity. Before her interaction, her high school had golf, tennis, swimming, gymnastics and track-and-field for girls. Boys had those and football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling. Lucy eventually got what she wanted, a girls basketball team. There were many boundaries to overcome though. The team could not practice in the school at good times and they had no equipment. Lucy Jane Bledsoe makes it a point to explain how women’s sports are an outlet for women facing major problems. She explains by saying, “This cry of ‘victim politics’ is particularly loud when women talk about assaults on our bodies, including rape, battery, incest, and mandatory appearance standards.”
Lucy Jane Bledsoe states how drastically sports have changed in the 25 years since Title IX was passed. She goes on to say, “…in 1972 only one in 27 girls played high school sports. The number is now one in three. Women make up 37 percent of collegiate athletes, up to 22 percent since 1922.”
Women have overcome many obstacles in history. Some of our accomplishments were made without the Title IX law. Although Title IX has made it a lot easier to accomplish what we women would like to see in the sports world, it also may have caused some resentment in the sports world as well. Males probably liked all the attention they were getting because they could play just about any sport and nobody would question their decisions. If a woman wanted to play high school or college basketball or baseball before Title IX became law, it would have been impossible. The woman would have been judged based on her decision and even if that did not stop her from prevailing, the name calling and threats definitely would. Title IX has leveled the playing field between men and women’s sports but, by no means, is the field free of bumps. Women do not get nearly as much funding or support as the men teams but with women getting higher and higher on the social ladder, it will come. Women who play sports, as Lucy Jane Bledsoe stated, are not as respected because they can, and usually are, accused of being dykes. Even though homophobia is starting to fade in this generation, we still have to implant it in future generations and make sure the progress does not regress. Women have always had to be the stronger of the two sexes because of all the things women have had to do without. Women have been trapped in the house being limited in their skills and education until recently. Title IX has helped in giving women the thought that they can do anything if they have the will and the drive to do so. If women did not want equal opportunities as men, nobody would have fought to make them somewhat equal in the eyes of sports and sports fans. Women still would have been sitting in the crowds or on the cheerleading team not thinking or wishing to play the sport they were watching or cheering for. In no way have women and men become completely equal, but with small steps like Title IX, equality looks like a strong possibility in the near future.