Editorial from the (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune: Title IX was a victory for the United States | Editorials

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The Minnesota Lynx, four-time WNBA champions, play three games this week.

The Minnesota Aurora are 6-0-1 in the USL-W Women’s Pre-Pro Women’s Soccer League on the road in games in Chicago and St. Louis.

This fall, the Minnesota Whitecaps will begin their Premier Hockey Federation (formerly National Women’s Hockey League) schedule while Minnesota collegiate skaters at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels and at the Minnesota State High School League level will start playing.

Meanwhile, many girls and women in Minnesota will simply play – any sport, in organized and pick-up games, knowing that thanks to federal rule they will have relatively equal access to playing sports like boys and men.

Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of The Essential Reason Why: Title IX, a then low-rated provision of the Education Act that reads, “No person in the United States shall, by reason of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits, or be discriminated against in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

At first glance, this is rather commonplace language, without even mentioning women’s or women’s sports. But the interpretation sparked a revolution in participation that has benefited generations of athletes and American society at large.

That’s especially the case in Minnesota, which has the highest high school girls’ athletic participation in the nation since 2011. A roster of big-name athletes attests to this, from gold medal-winning cross-country skier Jessie Diggins to six Players of the United States women’s hockey team from North Star State. College basketball superstar Paige Bueckers is a leader on the court and in public opinion, as one of the top collegiate earners of the NCAA’s new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rules. And Edina High School and Aurora football goaltender Bayliss Flynn just signed the Minnesota high school’s first NIL contract.

This is just to name a few. Even more significant are those whose lives have been dramatically improved through the opportunity to participate in team and individual sports. There are now 3 million more sports opportunities for girls than before Title IX. Today, women make up 44% of all NCAA athletes, up from 15% before Title IX, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Although these figures reflect extraordinary progress, there is still much to be done, according to the WSF.

The significant post-Title IX gains do not reflect another revolution: there are now more female students than male students on college campuses. This is another striking reversal from 1972, when Title IX first came into effect.

“There have been tremendous strides made over the past 50 years for girls and women in sport,” Karen Issokson-Silver, WSF’s vice president for research and education, told a columnist. “We’re seeing the significant increase in the number of girls and women playing sports when you compare that to the years before Title IX, and so that’s really exciting. And that makes us very optimistic about the future of girls. and women in sport.

And yet, Issokson-Silver added, there are still equity gaps across the board, especially for girls and women of color, girls and women with disabilities, and girls and women from the LGBTQ community. . “So there’s still a lot of work to be done to accelerate the pace of change that we’ve seen so that over the next five, 10, 50 years, we end up in a place where we’ve achieved equity. “

Title IX is just one example of what good government can do. It’s remarkable now because of the 50th anniversary, but not as noticeable on a daily basis because it’s become such an accepted and expected part of everyday American life. But the change is profound, because sport can be too.

“Playing sports is essential as it provides physical, social and emotional well-being,” Issokson-Silver said. “It contributes to lifelong skills, from communication and collaboration to teamwork and leadership. And we have seen the impact of sport for girls and women on their sense of belonging to the community, their success in school and in the workplace. Thus, in all spheres of life, sport has had a huge impact.

And that’s thanks, in large part, to Title IX.

– The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune

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