Title IX and equal rights

Nicole Frisoli, Raiders Times correspondent

(RAIDER TIMES EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story by Nicole Frisoli finished first in the 11th-grade division in the 12th annual Will McDonough Writing Contest, sponsored by the Sports Museum at TD Garden. Also winning this year was the essay submitted by Watertown High School 12th-grader Sofia Farhadi. Nicole and Sofia will be honored at TD Garden on Friday, April 8, prior to the Bucks-Celtics game. There have been six winning essays from WHS students in the past six years, following WHS seniors Joey Kelland (2014), Cameron Anderson (2013), Margaret Antonellis (2012), and Katie Carlson (2011). This year, three WHS seniors received Honorable Mention recognition: Sarah Lampasona, Nick Martino, and Nathan Ryan. Congratulations to all of the winners!)

Title IX and equal rights

By Nicole Frisoli

Women have been fighting for equal rights for decades.  Throughout history, the role of women at home and in society has changed immensely.  Women have progressed from being housewives who are told what to do by men to having their own jobs and thinking for themselves. There have been many people who fought for women’s rights throughout time and all of them have impacted women in some way. Many women throughout time have worked hard to change the roles of women in society. 

Title IX has inspired women to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their passions regarding sports.

In the early 1800s, Abigail Adams, a powerful and influential first lady, began to speak out about women’s rights. Later in the 1800s, Elizabeth Cady Stanton lead a convention on women’s rights called the Seneca Falls convention and wrote the Declaration of Sentiments which acknowledged women’s rights. Also, Catherine Brewer was the first woman in the United States that graduated college (Wesleyan College in 1840), thus proving that women are just as smart and capable as men. Amelia Earhart was one of the first women to fly over the Atlantic Ocean and attempt to fly around the world.  Just as men were flying planes over the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart proved that women were equally capable. However, it is important to note that when Catherine Brewer graduated college, the whole country did not change it’s opinion on women. In the 1920s, flappers helped large groups of women stand up to societal norms and make change. However, for athletes, society did not begin to stop discriminating against women until Title IX was signed into law.

In 1972, Title IX was signed bringing more equality to America. Title IX gave women the right to play on any sports team without exclusion or discrimination. Over time, this act has allowed women to gain respect from others.  Title IX gave women the chance to prove that they can do just as much as men.  There have been many women athletes to prove that women are equal to men through Title IX.

Before Title IX, women did not receive the same benefits to playing sports as men and they were discriminated against for participating.  Men could receive large scholarships to colleges for their athletic achievements and women could not. Not only did women face discrimination, they also faced racism and homophobia. Women were characterized as lesbians and unfeminine.  They also did not receive the same amount of financial benefits as men did.  Women had to raise their own money through car washes and bake sales.  Girls were not provided uniforms and many people did not watch their games.

In 1972, when Title IX was signed, people began to take interest in women’s sports.  Many people began to help raise money for sports.  Larger schools began to give out scholarships to women for their athletic achievements and uniforms were given to females.  Within 30 years, the amount of women athletes in America went from 295,000 to 2.8 million. Women were respected more as people and treated equally to men.  Without Title IX, women’s sports would not have grown to be respected in society and women would still not receive the same support that men do.

One woman who fought for women’s rights was named Kathrine Switzer. She wanted to run in the Boston Marathon when she was in college in 1967.  She wanted to run so she could prove to herself and her coach that she was capable of running a marathon. Women were not allowed to run in marathons at the time, so she wrote down her initials on the application.  During the race, someone ran at her and yelled at her to get out of the race.  She did not leave and she finished the race.  She proved that women were just as capable as men.

Title IX has inspired women to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their passions regarding sports.  This legislation is necessary today so that history is not repeated.  Women have suffered for a long time and are finally prospering.  They have fought for their rights and without Title IX, there is a chance that people could revert to old beliefs that women are inferior to men. In order to keep striving for equality in America, Title IX is a necessary legislation.

(Citation: Winslow, Barbara. “The Impact of Title IX.” The Impact of Title IX. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.)

–April 7, 2016–