June 23rd was the 38th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, the education law that guarantees equality for females in sports and other education activities. While it didn’t specifically mention sports, (“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”) it was pivotal in guaranteeing girls equal opportunities in high school and college sports and has changed the world of sports for women in the U.S.
The landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v Wade was decided on January 22, 1973, which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.
Both of these events were significant milestones in the area of women’s rights, and paved the way for a future with more options for females in the United States.
I was 16 and 17 when these two landmarks events occurred, the age group most likely to benefit from the changes. Yet, I don’t remember these events being momentous at the time, I don’t really remember them at all. Of course, it was 38 yrs ago and maybe I have forgotten. Maybe, being a typical adolescent, I was too self-absorbed to notice what was in the headlines.
What I do remember is feeling like the world was there for the asking; anything and everything was possible. My family expected me to go to college,( although previous generations had not had that option) even though their ideas of potential career paths were somewhat traditional (nurse, teacher, secretary). When I came home in my sophomore year and announced I had enrolled as a pyschology major, I was asked: “What on earth can you do with THAT?” (As it turned out, not much.)
I think those of us who grew up in the 70’s owe a great debt to the women and men before us who fought for equal rights for women. We were too young to be involved in the movement, but grew up taking advantage of it.
At least I understandnow how important those two events were/are.