Many people say the government shouldn’t get involved in much – they talk about over-legislation, and too much federal involvement in local life. Forty years ago, Title IX, the landmark legislation ensuring girls equal access to sports and education, faced similar criticism. I was four years old at the time – about to become a member of the first generation of girls to grow up under Title IX. As a young girl, the advantages I enjoyed were lost on me. I had no idea that my participation in team sports was anything other than normal. Looking back, those experiences were instrumental in making me who I am today (a fairly normal, contributing member of society who occasionally still does Ironman Triathlons).
Detractors wrote that Title IX would destroy sports as we knew it, depriving boys of their rightful money to support their dreams. 40 years later, it seems as many boys participate in sports as ever. And the number of girls participating is astronomically higher. A quick look at the Olympic results for London 2012 tells a compelling story – over 50% of the medals won by Americans were won by women. And around the world, other countries are following – Saudi Arabia had its first female competitor this year. USAToday published a great story on it that walks through the accomplishments of women so far.
Sometimes things have to be pushed by legislation. I don’t believe women would have the benefits of team sports if Title IX hadn’t been passed. My life would be different, and so would the lives of all those women and girls in London this year – not just in the US, but around the world. Congratulations to all those who fought for it all those years ago.
(Update – check out Sierra Harr, a 16 year old who ‘kind of became a feminist’ as she fights to play team golf in her small Idaho community.)
NASA is landing a Mars rover named Curiousity this weekend (Sunday night if you want to watch), and if it all goes well it will be an amazing accomplishment. Check out the video they put together explaining how it all works, including the ‘7 minutes of terror’ during which the little space craft will be out of touch entirely. Consider taking yourself out of touch entirely for 7 minutes – could you walk away from your phone, email, GPS, TV, tablet, etc. for 7 whole minutes? Might be harder than you think!