3 min read

50 Years of Title IX: Honoring Women's Sports in High School and Beyond

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, a landmark federal law that has created a multitude of opportunities for women in athletics, education, and employment. As we reflect on the 37 words that altered the course of women's sports, we honor the progress that has been made for gender equality and celebrate the women who continue to pave the way for future generations.

Signed on June 23, 1972, this groundbreaking law states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

 

Title IX Implications for High School Athletics

Although the bill did not specifically address high school sports, the passage of Title IX has afforded millions of girls the opportunities to participate in school athletics and activities. The legislation has had a profound impact on female student-athletes nationwide with increased accessibility to athletic programs and resources.

Before Title IX was passed in 1972, fewer than 300,000 girls participated in high school athletic programs. Today, approximately 3.5 million girls are involved in education-based high school athletic programs throughout the country - an increase of more than 1000%.

 

Opportunities for Women Beyond High School

By removing barriers to athletics for girls in high school, Title IX has opened doors for women not only in sports but also in education and employment. Title IX has been associated with decreasing the dropout rate of girls from high school and increasing the number of women who attend college and complete degrees in higher education. 

Seven times as many women play college sports now than before Title IX, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, with women making up 44% of all NCAA student athletes today. Prior to Title IX, the NCAA did not host athletic championships for female teams, and scholarships for female athletes were virtually nonexistent. 

While the allocation of athletic scholarships to women has improved significantly since Title IX was passed, a gap still persists at many universities compared to the representation of female students on campus. Additionally, there still aren’t as many professional leagues for women in key sports like softball. 

 

Career Paths and Opportunities for Female Athletes

In the past 50 years, more women have assumed roles in coaching, athletic administration, athletic training, sports management, officiating, and other traditionally male-dominated fields. Title IX has also increased the representation of women in professional sports, both as athletes and coaches. The life skills gained from participating in sports have arguably helped women pursue their educational and professional goals outside the realm of athletics as well. 

Approximately 24% of Athletic Directors in the United States are women, with slightly more representation at the high school level than at the college level. Women like Tammie Talley are leading top athletic programs and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. Talley is the District Athletic Director at Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. In a recent interview with News4Jax, Talley states:

“When I started back in the ’90s, it was me and one other female in our 42 schools. Now, almost half of the schools have female athletic directors. I think we’ve come a long way in 30 years in our district and across the country. I feel like I’ve worked hard to get to where I am. If this is what your dream is, don’t let anybody or anything stand in your way.” 


Fan Support for High School Girls Sports

To date, the GoFan team has proudly supported more than 150,000 girls' sports events at schools throughout the country. We have partnered with schools to manage events for 28 different girls' sports, from basketball and badminton to lacrosse and soccer, from swimming and gymnastics to fencing and golf - with more on the horizon.

We are honored to play a role in helping fans attend these events and support female student-athletes in their communities. Together with the NFHS Network, our team advocates for all students to have the opportunity to enjoy participation, achievement, and sportsmanship in education-based activities.

 

The Future of Women's Sports

Today - and every day - we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of women in high school athletics and activities, whether they are participating as students, coaching teams, or directing programs. We recognize that there is still work to do to ensure equality for female athletes, and we are grateful for the women who have made strides to build awareness and spur action to close gender gaps in education-based athletics and activities. These women continue to pave the way for future generations to pursue their dreams in the world of sports and beyond.

In the words of Billie Jean King in a recent interview with NBC News, the tennis legend and major advocate of Title IX who has devoted her life to fighting for gender equality in sports: 

“There is so much more opportunity today, which is fantastic - but on the other side, there is so much more to do. What we are going to do in the next 50 years is what I care about. Each generation passes that baton. The more you know about history, the more you know about yourself. More importantly, it helps you shape the future.”

 

 

 

 

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