Huge growth in girls' sports on anniversary of Title IX
From left to right: Tennis player Billie Jean King, Olympic athlete Nancy Hogshead-Makar, astronaut Mae Jemison and Superintendent of the United States Coast Guard Academy Sandra L. Sosz testify before the Senate. (Source: U.S. Senate)
Girls from the Lake Forest Academy take on the North Shore County Day School in a varsity soccer match in the Chicago area. (Source: North Shore Country Day School/Flickr)
(RNN) - Statistics show that since Title IX opened up sport and educational opportunities for women across the country, the number of girls playing school sports has grown by nearly 1,000 percent.
The law will celebrate its 40th anniversary Saturday.
In 1972, when Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, there were nearly 300,000 girls playing school sports to the more than 3.6 million boys playing. In 2011, that number had grown to more than 3.1 million girls and 4.5 million boys in school sports.
"Other than the constitutional right to vote, possibly no other piece of legislation has had a greater effect on women's live than Title IX," said law professor and former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar.
Hogshead-Makar, tennis player Billie Jean King, former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison and Superintendent of the United States Coast Guard Academy Sandra L. Sosz testified in the Senate today about the affects of Title IX and what else needs to be done for gender equity in schools.
"When boys experience more and better funded sports, it's hypocritical for adults to tell males that they would respect females," Hogshead-Makar said. "Males are being taught that they are more important.
"Because sports are one of the rare areas in education that are sex-segregated, how adults value girls' and women's sports speaks louder than any lesson."
Statistics show that boys still have 1.3 million more athletic opportunities than girls in schools across the country. The difference in opportunities can't be attributed to a lack of interest on the part of girls - after Title IX was passed, the number of girls joining sports teams immediately spiked.
"It's pretty simple to me," King said. "Girls or boys can't play if they don't have an opportunity to play."
According to King, there are six main reasons why girls aren't as active in sports as boys: A lack of access, safety and transportation issues, cultural barriers which require different things from boys and girls in the family setting, a decreased quality of experience because less money goes toward girls sports, school budget cuts, and a lack of positive role models.
But an increase in girls' sport participation has many long-ranging effects outside of the competitive world.
A 2010 study in The Review of Economics and Statistics found that in the first generation to benefit from Title IX also benefited from an increase in girls' education. There was also a 10 percent increase in women working in full-time positions and a 12 percent rise in the number of women in traditionally male-dominated fields.
"It is imperative that we continue to work together around the shared goals embodied in Title IX to ensure that our daughters and our sons will have as many educational opportunities, and as meaningful opportunities, open to them in the future," Hogshead-Makar said.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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