Just 40 years ago, girls were often sitting on the sidelines while boys had fun on the athletic playing fields. Before the landmark Title IX legislation was passed in 1972, 30,000 women (or one in 27) participated in high school sports. Today, that number is more like 3,000,000 (or one in 2.5)! Another fun fact: The 2012 Olympic Games will be the first in which male and female events will be held in equal numbers.
So this summer, leading up to the official 40th anniversary of the law on June 23, here are three ways we’re celebrating the fittest females we know.
- Relive all of the greatest women’s sports moments and superstars with espnW‘s Power of IX. They are counting down the Top 40 Female Athletes of the Past 40 Years, revealing a new selection each weekday. Click on over to see a video and details about each winner as they are counted down.
- While you’re at espnW, add your photo to the mosaic of female athletes! You’ll join the ranks of pros from Billie Jean King to Serena Williams as well as “everyday” women who love to golf, play frisbee and swim. Simply upload your image and explain why “Title IX is mine.”
- To take the Title IX celebrations to the gym, we’re wearing adorable tops by the aptly named company Title Nine. Their Power of 9 line includes eight tees which will be rolled out throughout the summer. As an added bonus, nine percent of sales will benefit Starting Block, a non-profit that helps girls across the U.S. get involved with sports. Our favorite designs so far: Champion Girl (seen above) and Determination.
Now tell us: What does Title IX mean to you and how has the women’s sports landscape changed since you started playing?