By: Sara Allen
Sports play a big part in a lot of high school students’ lives. According to USA Today, 47 percent of high school boys play sports, but only a third of high school girls participate. Before 1972, the number of girls who played sports was even less. For almost two decades, people believed girls were too fragile to partake in the “strenuous activity” that sports required. It took over 79 years before women were thought to be strong enough to play a full-court basketball game. Gender discrimination like this led to the passing of Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972, signed by President Richard Nixon.
Title IX states that, “any educational program receiving Federal assistance can lose its funding if it discriminates on the basis of sex.” Once passed, the bill gave women access to better coaches, equipment, travel budgets and playing fields. The number of girls participating in sports increased from one out of 27 to one out of three.
Even with Title IX backing female athletes, girls’ teams still get shorted on funds. It was found that for every tax dollar spent on athletics, 69 cents is used for male teams. The Pittsburgh Tribune found research to support that football loses more money than every other sport, proving that the myth about football helping all of the other sports is false. If the money lost by all female sports in a region were added together, the amount is still less than the money lost by football.
Last year only one of 52 Sports Illustrated covers was dedicated to women, not including the swimsuit edition. The inequality for female athletes continues at the professional level. Male athletes continue to earn more money playing the same sport as women year after year. The media makes male athletics easier to view and follow, giving them more air time on television and more space in the news.
Thanks to Title IX, female athletics are becoming more popular and better funded. All over the country, girls are fighting to have their equality in sports. If you are a female athlete, don’t be fooled, schools are finding ways around Title IX, so fight for your sport and your future in athletics.