Women & Sports

For this blog I wanted to point out all the accomplishments women have had throughout history in sports. Although it goes unrecognized, women have had a HUGE part in sports. Hopefully this will shed some light on the achievements that women have made, and what they will do in the future

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And Now They Tell Us Women Don't Really Like Sports?Ms. Magazine December

2002/January 2003Mariah Burton Nelson

In 1974, my first year at Stanford, my basketball teammates and I staged sit-ins in the athletic director's office. We were protesting our segregation in the "women's gym" -- so claustrophobic that our twenty fans sat on a single bench between sideline and wall. Our coach was an unpaid graduate student. Our "uniforms" were red shorts and white t-shirts, over which we tied red "pinnies." I came to think of us as the pinney generation.

We'd drop by the athletic director's office unannounced, insist on meeting with him, then remind him that Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational institutions, had passed two years earlier, in 1972. It was his job to implement it, we informed him.

We were angry. We were persistent. We were, I'm sure, a pain in the neck.

We were also successful, at least at Stanford. In my junior year, we moved into "the big gym" (7,400-seat Maples Pavilion) and received paid coaches, uniforms, and a trainer. The year after I graduated, all twelve players were on scholarship. In 1990 and 1992, Stanford won national women's basketball titles. For the past eight years Stanford has won the Sears Cup, awarded to the nation's best college for women's and men's sports.

"Are you surprised," people often ask me, "at how far women's sports have come?" They're thinking of proud, ponytailed soccer players with a spring in their step; Venus and Serena Williams, whose bulging shoulder muscles dwarf Martina Navratilova's; the wildly popular WNBA ("Style. Grace. In Your Face.") They're recalling the summer of 1999, when everyone was watched Brandi Chastain whip off her shirt in celebration of winning the Women's World Cup.

Actually, I'm surprised at the persistent inequities. I naively expected that women would by now enjoy an equal share of every "big gym," every athletic budget. Indeed, female sports participation has increased tremendously since the seventies (from less than 300,000 to almost 3 million at the high school level), but high school boys still receive 1.1 million more opportunities than girls to participate in sports. In college, male athletes still receive 58,000 (28 percent) more opportunities to play and $133 million more in athletic scholarship assistance. Coaches lack parity, too. In 2000-2001, the averge annual base salary for a women's coach was $86,119; the men's was $115,586.

Athletic directors keep dragging their feet about implementing Title IX, often not complying with the law until threatened with legal action. The Office of Civil Rights, which has the power to withhold federal funds from noncompliant institutions, has never done so. In 1984, the Supreme Court weakened Title IX with a narrow interpretation. Though the law was restored to its full strength with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the opposition continues.

It's more subtle than it used to be. They no longer worry about damage to women's delicate internal organs, as they did in the late 1800s, nor claim that women lack the endurance to sprint full court, as they did in the 1950s, nor fret that sports make women unfeminine, unattractive, or gay, as they did in the mid-to-late 1900s.

The twenty-first century argument goes like this: Title IX has "gone too far." It must be reformed because women's equality is hurting men.

It was Laurie Priest, Mount Holyoke's athletic director, who pointed out to me that when girls or women are given equal opportunities, boys and men often feel discriminated against. They're so used to enjoying privilege, preference, and priority access to that big gym, they sometimes feel like fifty-fifty is unfair.

In this case, men have tangible "proof" that female equality makes men suffer: In some cases, athletic departments have reached parity not by adding opportunities for female athletes, but by subtracting opportunities for male athletes. Players and coaches whose programs have been cut are crying foul.

So the federal government is "reviewing" Title IX. In June, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the creation of the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics. When he testified before the Senate that month, Paige seemed enthusiastic about Title IX, calling it "landmark legislation" and "one of our most important civil rights laws." He gave the law credit for an 847 percent increase in girls' high school sports opportunities since 1971. He praised increases in the number of women in medicine, dentistry, and law. (Title IX applies to all aspects of education, including admissions, recruitment, course offerings, counseling, financial assistance, student health, insurance benefits, housing, marital and parental student status, harassment, educational programs and activities, employment, and physical education and athletics.) The administration, Paige promised, is "working to build on these successes."

The commission's stated purpose is "to study Title IX and recommend how and if it should be revised." Co-chaired by Stanford athletic director Ted Leland and former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper, the commission includes Julie Foudy, Women's Sports Foundation president and captain of the U. S. National Women's Soccer Team; Donna de Varona, Olympic gold medalist and Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee Government Relations Committee; and athletic directors, commissioners, professors, coaches, university presidents, and executives with a range of views on and familiarity with Title IX.

Having lived through three decades of resistance to Title IX, women's sports advocates remain wary. The commission represents "an under-the-radar assault by the Bush administration," says Martha Burk, Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, which represents 160 organizations with a collective membership of seven million. "A frontal attack would alienate too much of the electorate. Suburban soccer moms and dads are for Title IX, and they carry a lot of weight."

"The very fact that they must praise it before they kill it is testament to the popularity of women's sports," says Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "They can't oppose it on academic grounds either -- there are too many female doctors and lawyers. They can't win in the courts. They've tried that and lost. So their only chance is to change the regulations."

Are male athletes really suffering? If so, is Title IX to blame? How will the commission's report affect gender equity in sports, and beyond?

Here are the three current objections to Title IX:
1) In order to comply with the law, schools are eliminating men's sports, thus discriminating against boys and men;
2) the enforcement regulations constitute a quota; and
3) women don't really want to play sports as much as men do anyway.

Are boys and men being discriminated against?

According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), 350 wrestling programs have been cut since the passage of Title IX. In January, the NWCA, joined by the College Sports Council and others, filed a lawsuit, charging that the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights has enforced Title IX in a way that constitutes reverse discrimination against men in low-profile sports. The Education Department moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the court does not have jurisdiction to consider the case.

House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert, a Republican and former high school wrestling coach who has publicly bemoaned the "unintended consequence" of Title IX (the elimination of men's programs), called for a General Accounting Office investigation. The GAO report, issued in March 2001, showed that in the 1998-99 season, 162,783 women and 231,866 men were playing college sports. While some men's programs had been cut, others were being added, resulting in a net gain of 36 men’s teams (between 1982 and 1999), not a loss. Overall, male sports participation is increasing, not decreasing.

Also, in the twenty-year span beginning in 1981, for every two sports opportunities added for women, 1.5 were added for men (see graph.) So while universities were gradually offering women many new chances to play, they were simultaneously offering men many new chances to play, too. If men's sports opportunities had simply been held steady while bringing women up to speed, universities would not now be in the position of robbing Peter to pay Paula, so to speak.

Often it does come down to financial choices. In tough economic times, colleges can't raise additional revenue to fund new women's programs. So they borrow from other line items in the budget. The obvious fat to trim would be football, with its 85 scholarships, vast coaching staffs, and salaries that can exceed those of university presidents. But to save the sacred football bull, athletic directors (83 percent of whom are men, and many of whom are former football coaches,) look for other sources of money -- and sometimes do cut wrestling to pay for field hockey.

The Quota Thing

Does Title IX constitute a quota? The eight federal courts that ruled on Title IX in the past 20 years agreed: No. Nancy Hogshead, a 1984 Olympic swimming champion, assistant law professor, and founder and chair of the Florida Coastal School of Law Legal Advocacy Center for Women in Sports, notes that the guidelines for interpreting Title IX "give schools broad flexibility to chose between three wholly independent ways to show that they provide non-discriminatory sports participation opportunities. Schools can either show that the athletic department’s gender mix matches its general student body population, or that the institution has a history and continuing practice of expansion for women’s athletics, or that it is meeting the interests and abilities of the female athletes on campus. There's simply no quota involved."

Women don't want to play sports?

But it's that third part of what's known as the "three-part test" -- the "interests and abilities" phrase -- that seems the most vulnerable. When all else fails, Title IX opponents claim that women don't really care much about sports anyway. In several lawsuits, schools have tried unsuccessfully to contend that the athletic "interests and abilities" of their female students are already being met -- with proportionally fewer opportunities than male students are receiving.

The new commission may be pursuing this same line of reasoning. The Education Department's website poses a question that has apparently been put to them often: "Isn't this commission just a way for the Administration to roll back the rights of female athletes because a few men are complaining that their programs have been cut?"

Their answer hints at a possible outcome: "No. For at least a decade, schools have requested additional guidance on how to assess the interest and abilities of their students. The Commission may choose to identify, among other things, methods that can be used to assess the interest and abilities of students. The Department seeks an approach that allows schools to structure their athletics programs to meet the needs and goals of the school and its students, in a nondiscriminatory manner consistent with the requirements of Title IX."

These "methods used to assess the interests and abilities of students" would probably consist of a survey instrument "that would take us back to the dark ages," according to Donna Lopiano, a Hall of Fame softball player and executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation. "It's like saying we should survey how interested women are in math -- then limit their opportunities according to the survey. It's just crazy. Besides, there are less than 400,000 participation slots in college altogether. How can they possibly meet the interests and abilities of the six million high school girls and boys who might want to play college sports? To claim that they're already doing so is ludicrous."

"Women aren't very athletic" is an antique argument, spanning more than a hundred years, so I was surprised to hear Jessica Gavora make it. She's a former high school basketball player who says she learned through basketball how to work hard, how to handle success and failure, how to be a team player, and how to cherish physical fitness. "I would not have been happy in a world that forced me to be a dancer or a cheerleader when I really wanted to play basketball," she acknowledges.

Yet in her new book, Tilting the Playing Fields: Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title IX, Gavora calls Title IX a quota and claims it discriminates against boys and men. A senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice and also Attorney General John Ashcroft's chief speechwriter Gavora cites Brown University's research to make her case. While spending millions of dollars unsuccessfully defending itself against a suit brought by its female students, Brown presented surveys showing that the ratio of female to male varsity athletes at Brown -- 40 to 60 percent -- matched the interest levels among female and male Brown students.

The judge who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs rejected Brown's claim that Brown's female students care less about sports than the men do, while also rejecting Brown's claims that Title IX constituted a quota and that implementing Title IX would require any drastic reduction of the men's program. The Supreme Court let the decision stand.

"We need an end to the recent rhetoric that implies that equality for women results in the destruction of men's sports and that female athletes aren't as interested in playing sports as their male counterparts," says pioneering women's sports activist and tennis champion Billie Jean King. "These are anachronistic and stereotypical views that are contrary to reality."

Why all the resistance?

Why are we still arguing about this? Why is there no end in sight to a debate over whether women should have equal opportunities on America's playing fields?

Because sports are not just sports. Sports are a battle, men often say. Sports are not a battle. But they're not just fun and games, either. The more women play sports, the healthier and stronger they become. Physical fitness improves self-esteem and mood, lowers anxiety and depression, reduces stress. Women who play sports are less likely to suffer from breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart failure. High school athletes have lower rates of drug use and pregnancy. They feel better about their bodies.

The more women play sports, they more they respect themselves, stand up for themselves, team up with other women, and perhaps also refuse to tolerate abuse, whether that’s sexual harassment at work or battering at home. The more women gain physical and emotional strength, the less feasible it will become for men to treat women as inferior. Sports radically transform women, and women’s relationships with men.

And maybe it's this -- the growing strength, confidence, and teamwork among women, and the shifting balance of power between women and men -- that makes Title IX an emotional issue, and upsets some people even more than the loss of a few wrestling programs. When I was on tour for my book, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football, I kept hearing the word "different." During arguments about female power, potential, and purpose, after I "won" with statistics, facts, and reason, my opponents would resort to, "But men and women are different!"

Having heard this literally hundreds of times, in innumerable variations involving brains, muscles, height, weight, genitals, nurturance, combativeness, and other real and imagined physical and psychological differences, I have concluded that this is the emotional core of the opposition to Title IX, and to women's growing physical and political strength. Title IX opponents want men and women to be fundamentally, essentially different from each other. They want men to be stronger. To be more privileged. To be on top.

Feminism challenges that assumption -- saying, in effect: Sure there are a few differences, but we can all be doctors, nurses, pilots, presidents, football players, synchronized swimmers, and soldiers, with the full range of emotions and behaviors to choose from. We need not restrict ourselves to gender-stereotyped games.

Ithink this perspective scares some people. What if women didn't have to dress, talk, work, parent, and play sports "like women"? What if they could behave any way they pleased? What if men could?

As part of their investigation into whether Title IX should be revised, the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics is holding public hearings this fall in San Diego, Colorado Springs, Atlanta, and Chicago. The Women's Sports Foundation, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the National Association of College Women Athletic Administrators, the National Women's Law Center, the American Association of University Women, the National Organization for Women, the National Council of Women's Organizations, and the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education plan to monitor these hearings, and welcome support.

In January, the Commission will issue their report to Secretary Paige, who "will review the recommendations of the commission very carefully before making any decisions on how to proceed," according to the Education Department's website. (www.ed.gov.) With women's sports advocates Donna de Varona and Julie Foudy on the commission, it's impossible to conceive of a unanimous proposal that would hurt women's sports. But the commission is only making recommendations, not decisions.

Could the Bush administration rewrite the regulations based on an assertion that women don't really care about sports as much as men do? Sure they could.

What's the worst that could happen? "Everything that we've worked for could be over," says Hogshead, the swimmer and lawyer. "They could tell schools that it's okay to give women fewer opportunities because they're less interested in sports.

"They could send us back to the "women's gym."

Pulled directly from : http://www.mariahburtonnelson.com/Articles/WomenSportsMsTitleIX.html
And Now They Tell Us Women Don't Really Like Sports?Ms. Magazine December

2002/January 2003Mariah Burton Nelson

In 1974, my first year at Stanford, my basketball teammates and I staged sit-ins in the athletic director's office. We were protesting our segregation in the "women's gym" -- so claustrophobic that our twenty fans sat on a single bench between sideline and wall. Our coach was an unpaid graduate student. Our "uniforms" were red shorts and white t-shirts, over which we tied red "pinnies." I came to think of us as the pinney generation.

We'd drop by the athletic director's office unannounced, insist on meeting with him, then remind him that Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational institutions, had passed two years earlier, in 1972. It was his job to implement it, we informed him.

We were angry. We were persistent. We were, I'm sure, a pain in the neck.

We were also successful, at least at Stanford. In my junior year, we moved into "the big gym" (7,400-seat Maples Pavilion) and received paid coaches, uniforms, and a trainer. The year after I graduated, all twelve players were on scholarship. In 1990 and 1992, Stanford won national women's basketball titles. For the past eight years Stanford has won the Sears Cup, awarded to the nation's best college for women's and men's sports.

"Are you surprised," people often ask me, "at how far women's sports have come?" They're thinking of proud, ponytailed soccer players with a spring in their step; Venus and Serena Williams, whose bulging shoulder muscles dwarf Martina Navratilova's; the wildly popular WNBA ("Style. Grace. In Your Face.") They're recalling the summer of 1999, when everyone was watched Brandi Chastain whip off her shirt in celebration of winning the Women's World Cup.

Actually, I'm surprised at the persistent inequities. I naively expected that women would by now enjoy an equal share of every "big gym," every athletic budget. Indeed, female sports participation has increased tremendously since the seventies (from less than 300,000 to almost 3 million at the high school level), but high school boys still receive 1.1 million more opportunities than girls to participate in sports. In college, male athletes still receive 58,000 (28 percent) more opportunities to play and $133 million more in athletic scholarship assistance. Coaches lack parity, too. In 2000-2001, the averge annual base salary for a women's coach was $86,119; the men's was $115,586.

Athletic directors keep dragging their feet about implementing Title IX, often not complying with the law until threatened with legal action. The Office of Civil Rights, which has the power to withhold federal funds from noncompliant institutions, has never done so. In 1984, the Supreme Court weakened Title IX with a narrow interpretation. Though the law was restored to its full strength with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the opposition continues.

It's more subtle than it used to be. They no longer worry about damage to women's delicate internal organs, as they did in the late 1800s, nor claim that women lack the endurance to sprint full court, as they did in the 1950s, nor fret that sports make women unfeminine, unattractive, or gay, as they did in the mid-to-late 1900s.

The twenty-first century argument goes like this: Title IX has "gone too far." It must be reformed because women's equality is hurting men.

It was Laurie Priest, Mount Holyoke's athletic director, who pointed out to me that when girls or women are given equal opportunities, boys and men often feel discriminated against. They're so used to enjoying privilege, preference, and priority access to that big gym, they sometimes feel like fifty-fifty is unfair.

In this case, men have tangible "proof" that female equality makes men suffer: In some cases, athletic departments have reached parity not by adding opportunities for female athletes, but by subtracting opportunities for male athletes. Players and coaches whose programs have been cut are crying foul.

So the federal government is "reviewing" Title IX. In June, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the creation of the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics. When he testified before the Senate that month, Paige seemed enthusiastic about Title IX, calling it "landmark legislation" and "one of our most important civil rights laws." He gave the law credit for an 847 percent increase in girls' high school sports opportunities since 1971. He praised increases in the number of women in medicine, dentistry, and law. (Title IX applies to all aspects of education, including admissions, recruitment, course offerings, counseling, financial assistance, student health, insurance benefits, housing, marital and parental student status, harassment, educational programs and activities, employment, and physical education and athletics.) The administration, Paige promised, is "working to build on these successes."

The commission's stated purpose is "to study Title IX and recommend how and if it should be revised." Co-chaired by Stanford athletic director Ted Leland and former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper, the commission includes Julie Foudy, Women's Sports Foundation president and captain of the U. S. National Women's Soccer Team; Donna de Varona, Olympic gold medalist and Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee Government Relations Committee; and athletic directors, commissioners, professors, coaches, university presidents, and executives with a range of views on and familiarity with Title IX.

Having lived through three decades of resistance to Title IX, women's sports advocates remain wary. The commission represents "an under-the-radar assault by the Bush administration," says Martha Burk, Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, which represents 160 organizations with a collective membership of seven million. "A frontal attack would alienate too much of the electorate. Suburban soccer moms and dads are for Title IX, and they carry a lot of weight."

"The very fact that they must praise it before they kill it is testament to the popularity of women's sports," says Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "They can't oppose it on academic grounds either -- there are too many female doctors and lawyers. They can't win in the courts. They've tried that and lost. So their only chance is to change the regulations."

Are male athletes really suffering? If so, is Title IX to blame? How will the commission's report affect gender equity in sports, and beyond?

Here are the three current objections to Title IX:
1) In order to comply with the law, schools are eliminating men's sports, thus discriminating against boys and men;
2) the enforcement regulations constitute a quota; and
3) women don't really want to play sports as much as men do anyway.

Are boys and men being discriminated against?

According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), 350 wrestling programs have been cut since the passage of Title IX. In January, the NWCA, joined by the College Sports Council and others, filed a lawsuit, charging that the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights has enforced Title IX in a way that constitutes reverse discrimination against men in low-profile sports. The Education Department moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the court does not have jurisdiction to consider the case.

House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert, a Republican and former high school wrestling coach who has publicly bemoaned the "unintended consequence" of Title IX (the elimination of men's programs), called for a General Accounting Office investigation. The GAO report, issued in March 2001, showed that in the 1998-99 season, 162,783 women and 231,866 men were playing college sports. While some men's programs had been cut, others were being added, resulting in a net gain of 36 men’s teams (between 1982 and 1999), not a loss. Overall, male sports participation is increasing, not decreasing.

Also, in the twenty-year span beginning in 1981, for every two sports opportunities added for women, 1.5 were added for men (see graph.) So while universities were gradually offering women many new chances to play, they were simultaneously offering men many new chances to play, too. If men's sports opportunities had simply been held steady while bringing women up to speed, universities would not now be in the position of robbing Peter to pay Paula, so to speak.

Often it does come down to financial choices. In tough economic times, colleges can't raise additional revenue to fund new women's programs. So they borrow from other line items in the budget. The obvious fat to trim would be football, with its 85 scholarships, vast coaching staffs, and salaries that can exceed those of university presidents. But to save the sacred football bull, athletic directors (83 percent of whom are men, and many of whom are former football coaches,) look for other sources of money -- and sometimes do cut wrestling to pay for field hockey.

The Quota Thing

Does Title IX constitute a quota? The eight federal courts that ruled on Title IX in the past 20 years agreed: No. Nancy Hogshead, a 1984 Olympic swimming champion, assistant law professor, and founder and chair of the Florida Coastal School of Law Legal Advocacy Center for Women in Sports, notes that the guidelines for interpreting Title IX "give schools broad flexibility to chose between three wholly independent ways to show that they provide non-discriminatory sports participation opportunities. Schools can either show that the athletic department’s gender mix matches its general student body population, or that the institution has a history and continuing practice of expansion for women’s athletics, or that it is meeting the interests and abilities of the female athletes on campus. There's simply no quota involved."

Women don't want to play sports?

But it's that third part of what's known as the "three-part test" -- the "interests and abilities" phrase -- that seems the most vulnerable. When all else fails, Title IX opponents claim that women don't really care much about sports anyway. In several lawsuits, schools have tried unsuccessfully to contend that the athletic "interests and abilities" of their female students are already being met -- with proportionally fewer opportunities than male students are receiving.

The new commission may be pursuing this same line of reasoning. The Education Department's website poses a question that has apparently been put to them often: "Isn't this commission just a way for the Administration to roll back the rights of female athletes because a few men are complaining that their programs have been cut?"

Their answer hints at a possible outcome: "No. For at least a decade, schools have requested additional guidance on how to assess the interest and abilities of their students. The Commission may choose to identify, among other things, methods that can be used to assess the interest and abilities of students. The Department seeks an approach that allows schools to structure their athletics programs to meet the needs and goals of the school and its students, in a nondiscriminatory manner consistent with the requirements of Title IX."

These "methods used to assess the interests and abilities of students" would probably consist of a survey instrument "that would take us back to the dark ages," according to Donna Lopiano, a Hall of Fame softball player and executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation. "It's like saying we should survey how interested women are in math -- then limit their opportunities according to the survey. It's just crazy. Besides, there are less than 400,000 participation slots in college altogether. How can they possibly meet the interests and abilities of the six million high school girls and boys who might want to play college sports? To claim that they're already doing so is ludicrous."

"Women aren't very athletic" is an antique argument, spanning more than a hundred years, so I was surprised to hear Jessica Gavora make it. She's a former high school basketball player who says she learned through basketball how to work hard, how to handle success and failure, how to be a team player, and how to cherish physical fitness. "I would not have been happy in a world that forced me to be a dancer or a cheerleader when I really wanted to play basketball," she acknowledges.

Yet in her new book, Tilting the Playing Fields: Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title IX, Gavora calls Title IX a quota and claims it discriminates against boys and men. A senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice and also Attorney General John Ashcroft's chief speechwriter Gavora cites Brown University's research to make her case. While spending millions of dollars unsuccessfully defending itself against a suit brought by its female students, Brown presented surveys showing that the ratio of female to male varsity athletes at Brown -- 40 to 60 percent -- matched the interest levels among female and male Brown students.

The judge who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs rejected Brown's claim that Brown's female students care less about sports than the men do, while also rejecting Brown's claims that Title IX constituted a quota and that implementing Title IX would require any drastic reduction of the men's program. The Supreme Court let the decision stand.

"We need an end to the recent rhetoric that implies that equality for women results in the destruction of men's sports and that female athletes aren't as interested in playing sports as their male counterparts," says pioneering women's sports activist and tennis champion Billie Jean King. "These are anachronistic and stereotypical views that are contrary to reality."

Why all the resistance?

Why are we still arguing about this? Why is there no end in sight to a debate over whether women should have equal opportunities on America's playing fields?

Because sports are not just sports. Sports are a battle, men often say. Sports are not a battle. But they're not just fun and games, either. The more women play sports, the healthier and stronger they become. Physical fitness improves self-esteem and mood, lowers anxiety and depression, reduces stress. Women who play sports are less likely to suffer from breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart failure. High school athletes have lower rates of drug use and pregnancy. They feel better about their bodies.

The more women play sports, they more they respect themselves, stand up for themselves, team up with other women, and perhaps also refuse to tolerate abuse, whether that’s sexual harassment at work or battering at home. The more women gain physical and emotional strength, the less feasible it will become for men to treat women as inferior. Sports radically transform women, and women’s relationships with men.

And maybe it's this -- the growing strength, confidence, and teamwork among women, and the shifting balance of power between women and men -- that makes Title IX an emotional issue, and upsets some people even more than the loss of a few wrestling programs. When I was on tour for my book, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football, I kept hearing the word "different." During arguments about female power, potential, and purpose, after I "won" with statistics, facts, and reason, my opponents would resort to, "But men and women are different!"

Having heard this literally hundreds of times, in innumerable variations involving brains, muscles, height, weight, genitals, nurturance, combativeness, and other real and imagined physical and psychological differences, I have concluded that this is the emotional core of the opposition to Title IX, and to women's growing physical and political strength. Title IX opponents want men and women to be fundamentally, essentially different from each other. They want men to be stronger. To be more privileged. To be on top.

Feminism challenges that assumption -- saying, in effect: Sure there are a few differences, but we can all be doctors, nurses, pilots, presidents, football players, synchronized swimmers, and soldiers, with the full range of emotions and behaviors to choose from. We need not restrict ourselves to gender-stereotyped games.

Ithink this perspective scares some people. What if women didn't have to dress, talk, work, parent, and play sports "like women"? What if they could behave any way they pleased? What if men could?

As part of their investigation into whether Title IX should be revised, the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics is holding public hearings this fall in San Diego, Colorado Springs, Atlanta, and Chicago. The Women's Sports Foundation, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the National Association of College Women Athletic Administrators, the National Women's Law Center, the American Association of University Women, the National Organization for Women, the National Council of Women's Organizations, and the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education plan to monitor these hearings, and welcome support.

In January, the Commission will issue their report to Secretary Paige, who "will review the recommendations of the commission very carefully before making any decisions on how to proceed," according to the Education Department's website. (www.ed.gov.) With women's sports advocates Donna de Varona and Julie Foudy on the commission, it's impossible to conceive of a unanimous proposal that would hurt women's sports. But the commission is only making recommendations, not decisions.

Could the Bush administration rewrite the regulations based on an assertion that women don't really care about sports as much as men do? Sure they could.

What's the worst that could happen? "Everything that we've worked for could be over," says Hogshead, the swimmer and lawyer. "They could tell schools that it's okay to give women fewer opportunities because they're less interested in sports.

"They could send us back to the "women's gym."

Pulled directly from : http://www.mariahburtonnelson.com/Articles/WomenSportsMsTitleIX.html

Pat Head Summit ~ The Winningest Coach

Pat Head Summitt, a native of Henrietta, Tennessee, was recently named Naismith Coach of the Century. In over 30 seasons at Tennessee, Summitt has recorded more than 880 career victories. Her record makes her the active winningest coach in history. She has led the Lady Vols to 31 consecutive post-season berths, including 20 Final Fours (four AIAW) and 14 title games. Her 16 trips to the NCAA Final Four passed legendary UCLA coach John Wooden (12) for best in history.

Shirley Muldowney~ 1st Lady of Racing

In the world of motorsports, results are often all that matter. For Shirley Muldowney, the dual desire to compete and win gave her the impetus to break through barriers-barriers of gender, barriers of pain, and barriers of time itself-in the quest for successful results. For the better part of thirty years, Shirley Muldowney has been an icon in the field of motor sports, and even at age 62 she continues to hold her own against the best racers on the planet.

http://www.muldowney.com/bio1.html

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Women in Sports Quotes~

"The triumph cannot be had without the struggle. And I know what struggle is. I have spent a lifetime trying to share what it has meant to be a woman first in the world of sports so that other young women have a chance to reach their dreams. " -- Wilma Rudolph

"If you never lose then you can never appreciate the victories." ---Laura Twitchell

"The power of the human will to compete and the drive to excel beyond the body's normal capabilities is most beautifully demonstrated in the arena of sport." ---Aimee Mullins

"One bout doesn't make a champion. One win or one loss isn't reflective of an entire career...Champions aren't made or lost with one battle." ---Kelly Williams

"Sportsmanship is not just about being nice. It is much more important than that. It's about realizing that you could not compete without an opponent and that she has the same goals as you." ---Stephanie Deibler

http://smiley963.tripod.com/sports.html

Ederle, Gertrude Caroline (1906-...)

"People said women couldn't swim the Channel but I proved they could" --Ederle

Gertrude Ederle, a famous American swimmer, became the first woman to swim the English Channel. In 1926, at the age of 19, Ederle swam the channel from France to England. Her time of 14 hours 39 minutes for the 35-mile (56-kilometer) distance broke the previous record and stood as the women's record for 35 years. From 1921 to 1925, Ederle set 29 United States and world records for swimming races ranging from the 50-yard to the half-mile race. In the 1924 Summer Olympic Games, she won a gold medal as a member of the championship U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team. She also won bronze medals for finishing third in the 100-meter and 400-meter freestyle races. Ederle was born in New York City.

http://www.msu.edu/~grawbur1/iahweb.html


Christy Martin

Often credited with popularizing modern women's boxing, Christy started her career on a dare when she entered and won a "Tough Woman" boxing competition while in college. Taking to the sport despite her little ring experience, she started looking into the possibility of a career after graduating with an education degree in 1991. She soon began working with trainer Jim Martin – whom she later married.

She spent the next few years honing her skills and paying her dues, fighting where she could, often against opponents who weren't even trained boxers, but martial artists. Her big break came in 1993 when she grabbed the attention of famed boxing promoter Don King -- who signed her to a contract -- the first woman he ever signed. She reportedly went from earning hundreds per fight to thousands.

Then in 1996 came the match that many boxing aficionados consider the birth of modern women's boxing. Her opponent was Irish featherweight Deirdre Gogarty. The bloody-six-round win for Christy ended up being the most exciting of the run-up matches to a lackluster men's title bout between Mike Tyson and Brit Frank Bruno. The fight was seen in over 100 countries to an estimated pay-per-view audience of over 30 million. The international press soon descended on the story and within weeks Christy was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the title, "The Lady is a Champ: Boxing's New Sensation." The cover was a landmark achievement for women's boxing.

She continued to dominate through the 1990's, albeit with some criticism that her opponents were sometimes mismatched. Christie has also been denounced for her reluctance over the years to take up the cause for women's boxing, preferring instead to remain an athlete who primarily focuses on her training and career. She once wrote: "Women fighters need to understand that this is a business and just like any other job, everyone must try and climb the ladder of success…We are each our own product, and it is up to us as individuals to create and promote ourselves." If that was her goal, few can argue that she didn't do a lot for women's boxing along the way.

In one of her most prominent recent bouts Christy faced Laila Ali (daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali) in August of 2003 and lost for only the second time in 50 fights spanning her 14 year career. She's told the media that she'd like to hit 50 wins and then retire to concentrate on having a family.

http://www.womenwarriors.ca/en/athletes/profile.asp?id=15

Alice Coachman

America's First African American Woman to Win Olympic Gold
The determination of the American Spirit can be seen in the life of Alice Coachman. In London, England in 1948, during the first Olympics held after World War II, Alice became the first African American woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in track and field.

Breaking the previous world record in the high jump, her success challenged long held assumptions about women's physical ability to participate in track and field and opened the doors for the success of generations to follow which would include 3-time gold medallist Wilma Rudolph and her Tigerbell teammates.

Alice Coachman was born in Albany, Georgia in 1923, the fifth of ten children. Denied access to public training facilities because of segregation policies, she ran barefoot on the back roads of Georgia and devised all sorts of makeshift setups to jump over - from strings and ropes to sticks and tied rags. Her parents thought she should direct herself to a more ladylike path, but Alice was determined to succeed as an athlete.

Alice overcame the effects of segregation to win twenty-five national titles as well as the Olympic Gold. Emboldened with the spirit of possibility, Alice says, "I've always believed that I could do whatever I set my mind to do." After her Olympic victory, she returned to America to train other women athletes. Her legacy opened possibilities for future generations of women to participate and succeed in Track and Field. Alice Coachman worked to ensure the success of future generations as she passed the torch of opportunity to other American women.
Alice Coachman has been honored with prestigious memberships in eight halls of fame, including the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Albany Sports Hall of Fame.

http://www.nwhp.org/tlp/biographies/coachman/coachman_bio.html

Annie Oakely: Sharp Shooter

Annie Oakley was frequently known as Little Miss Sure Shot, Annie Oakley was her most notable handle in life. Annie Oakley make money for her family with her sharp Shooter skills bagging game and selling it to the local general store
It wasn't until Annie Oakley beat Frank Butler, a expert sharp shooter, in a shooting match on Thanksgiving of 1875 that the world began to discover the expert sharp shooter Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley married Frank in 1876. The two sharp shooter stars joined up with Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show in 1885. Frank became the manager for the sharp shooter "Annie Oakley " and traveled throughout America and Europe for 17 years with the Wild West Show
In addition Annie Oakley did sharp shooter exhibitions for Union Metallic Cartridge Company. The Remington Arms Company show cased Annie Oakley putting on sharp shooting exhibitions as well
Annie Oakley participated frequently in public sharp shooting matches
Annie Get Your Gun is a musical tribute to Annie Oakley

http://www.linecamp.com/museums/americanwest/western_names/oakley_annie/oakley_annie.html
Julia A. Holmes

Julia Holmes was the first lady in history to climb Pikes Peak. Afterwards, she recorded in a journal saying, "I have accomplished the task which I marked out for myself…Nearly everyone tried to discourage me from attempting it, but I believed that I should succeed…"1. Oddly, the most famous thing that she was recngnized for was what she was wearing. It was reported that she wore her bloomers, a short skirt, mocasins and a hat. She named this, "The American Costume."

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/aug05.html
The Hera Games

THE WOMEN: WERE THE ANCIENT OLYMPICS JUST FOR MEN? Along with the athletic contests held at ancient Olympia, there was a separate festival in honor of Hera (the wife of Zeus). This festival included foot races for unmarried girls. Although it is not known how old the festival was, it may have been almost as old as the festival for boys and men.

Little is known about this festival other than what Pausanias, a 2nd century AD Greek traveler, tells us. He mentions it in his description of the Temple of Hera in the Sanctuary of Zeus and says that it was organized and supervised by a committee of 16 women from the cities of Elis. The festival took place every four years, when a new peplos was woven and presented to Hera inside her temple.

Pausanias gives us a description of a girl's attire for the Hera games of the 2nd century AD. The girls wore their hair free down their back and a tunic hanging almost as low as the knees covering only the left shoulder and breast. The costume that Pausanias describes may have been the traditional costume at Olympia and possibly elsewhere for centuries

Unmarried girls had a number of advantages at Olympia. They not only had their own athletic contests of the Hera festival in which to participate, but they were also allowed to watch the men's and boys' contests of the festival of Zeus. Married women, on the other hand, were not allowed to participate in the athletic contests of the Hera festival, and were barred on penalty of death from the Sanctuary of Zeus on the days of the athletic competition for boys and men. We don't know whether or not the women allowed the men to watch the girls' contests!

http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/olympics/olympicsexism.shtml

Monday, May 01, 2006

Women in Sports Timeline (776 B.C. to Present)

*776 B.C. - The first Olympics are held in ancient Greece. Women are excluded, so they compete every four years in their own Games of Hera, to honor the Greek goddess who ruled over women and the earth.

*1722 - British fighter Elizabeth Wilkinson enters the boxing ring.

*1811 - On January 9, the first known women’s golf tournament is held at Musselburgh Golf Club, Scotland, among the town fishwives.

*1837 - Donald Walker's book, Exercise for Ladies, warns women against horseback riding, because it deforms the lower part of the body.

*1858 - Julia Archibald Holmes (1838-87) climbs Pikes Peak in Colorado (14,110 feet) wearing bloomers on Aug. 5.

*1874 - Mary Ewing Outerbridge of Staten Island introduces tennis to the United States. She purchases tennis equipment in Bermuda (and had trouble getting it through Customs!) and uses it to set up the first US tennis court at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club that spring.

*1885 - Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Moses, 1860-1926), 25, is the sharp-shooting star of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. She could hit a moving target while riding a galloping horse; hit a dime in mid-air; and regularly shot a cigarette from her husband's lips.

*1931 - Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis bans women from professional baseball (the bans lasts until 1992), after 17-year-old pitcher Virne Beatrice "Jackie" Mitchell strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Landis voids Mitchell's contract, saying baseball is "too strenuous" for women.

*1932 - Jacqueline Cochran gets her pilot's license after two and a half weeks of flight lessons. At her death in 1980 she held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any pilot, male or female, in the world.

*1933 - Babe Didrikson makes her first professional basketball appearance, scoring 9 points for the Brooklyn Yankees in a 19-16 win over the Long Island Ducklings.

*1936 - Helen Stephens Moody is named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for track.

*1943 - Phillip K. Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, establishes the All-American Girls Softball League, the forerunner of the All-American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL).

*1946 - Alice Coachman becomes the first woman of color to be a member of the US All-American Track and Field Team. By 1948, 9 of 12 members of the women's team would be black.

*1948 - Alice Coachman becomes the first black American female gold Olympic medalist, in the high jump.

*1953 - Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly, 16, becomes the first woman to score a Grand Slam - winning all four major world (US Open, Wimbledon, French & Australian Opens) tennis matches in a single season, with her US singles title at Forest Hills on Sept.

*1956 - Pat McCormick becomes the first woman to win back-to-back springboard and platform diving events at the Olympics. Tenley Albright, who overcame polio as a child, becomes the first American woman to win a Olympic gold medal in figure skating. Nell Cecelia Jackson, a 1948 Olympian, becomes the first black coach of the women's track team. She is named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for diving.

*1959 - Patty Berg hits the first "hole-in-one" for a woman in a golf tournament.

*1965 - Donna De Varona, a 1964 Olympic swimmer, becomes the first woman sports broadcaster on national TV for ABC. She is also a founder of the Women's Sports Foundation.

*1968 - Anna Lewis becomes the youngest person to win a world rodeo championship when she wins the Womens's Pro Rodeo Association barrel racing at age 10.

*1970 - Pat Palinkas is the first woman to play in a professional football game. She held the ball for the place kickers on the Orlando Panthers team.

*1972 - Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.” When President Nixon signs the act on July 23 about 31,000 women are involved in college sports; spending on athletic scholarships for women is less than $100,000; and the average number of women's teams at a college is 2.1.

*1974 - Winston Cup racing reporter Pat Singer (who edited the Auto Racing Monthly in the early 1970's) gets her first garage pass at the Rockingham, NC, NASCAR track. This allowed her into auto racing's version of the pro sports locker room four years before Sports Ilustrated's Melissa Ludtke wins her lawsuit for equal access in major league baseball.

*1978 - American Women's Himalayan Expedition members Vera Komarkova and Irene Miller (Beradsley) become the first women and first Americans reach to top of Annapurna, one of the world's most dangerous mountains. Two members fo the 10-woman team died in the attempt. The team raised the $80,000 needed by selling T-shirts: "A Woman's Place Is on Top."

*1983 - More than 600 women enter the first all-female triathalon (swim-bike-run) in California.

*1984 - Three separate women's shooting events are added at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles: women's air rifle, women's three-position rifle, and sport pistol. Pat Spurgin becomes the first markswoman in history to capture a gold (air rifle). Ruby Fox (pistol) and Wanda Jewell (rifle) also win medals for the U.S. in 1984.

*1986 - The Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) is formed.

*1989 - By the end of the decade, the number of women playing tennis had risen from 4 to 11 million.

*1990 - Jean Driscoll wins the first of seven straight wheelchair Boston Marathons in a world-record time of 1:43:17. She will set the record in each of the next four years.

*1993 - Ann Meyers becomes the first woman inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

*1996 - Professional boxer Christy Martin is the first woman fighter to be televised on pay-per-view.

*1997 - The inaugural Women's National Basketball Association season begins on June 21

*1998 - Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw wins AAU's James E. Sullivan Memorial Award. She is named the AP Player of the Year for leading Tennessee's Lady Vol's to a 39-0 season and their third straight NCAA championship, as well as the Player of the Year award presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt wins her fourth Naismith coaching award, as well as is named Associated Press Coach of the Year.

*1998 - There are 1,900 girls who wrestled during the 1997-98 school year. In the first year the National Federation of State High School Associations tracked girls in wrestlting (1984-85), just 6 were counted.

*1999 - Alaska native Katie Johnson, a junior at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, wins her third straight individual combined cross-country ski championship sponsored by the US Collegiate Ski Association in Mammoth Lakes, CA on March 13.

*1999 - Golfer Amy Alcott is inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame on March 22. Her career included 29 victories and five major championships.

*2000 - The US women’s national soccer team captures its fifth title with the Gold Cup in a 1-0 game over Brazil in Foxboro, MA, on a kick by Tiffeny Milbrett.

*2003 - Pat Summitt becomes the first coach in women's basketball to win 800 career games when her Lady Vols beat DePaul 76-57. She is just the fourth coach in Division I to post 800 victories, and the first woman. Her record stands at 800-161 in 29 seasons with six national championships.

*2003 - Candian Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, 24, becomes the first woman to score a goal in a men's pro hockey game on a backhander for her Finnish League Kirkkonummi Salamat.

*2003 The Women's Hall of Fame announces the Class of 2003,including two women athletes: GERTRUDE EDERLE (1906-) In 1926, Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel, setting a new time record that would stand for the next 35 years. Ederle's career included 29 U.S. and World swimming records, erasing many people's doubts about the physical abilities of female athletes. DONNA DE VARONA (1947-) In 1960, at the age of 13, de Varona became the youngest member of a U.S. Olympic swim team. Just four years later, she won gold medals in the 400 IM and 400 Freestyle Relay at the Tokyo Olympics. She went on to set 18 world records in her career, and co-founded the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974. De Varona was the first full-time female sports broadcaster (for ABC) and has served two Presidential Commissions and five terms on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

*2005 - Michelle Kwan, 24, captures her ninth United States Figure Skating Championship title, tying Maribel Vinson Owen for most national titles won. Owen, who won nine titles between 1928 and 1937, died in the 1961 plane crash that killed the United States figure skating team.

*2006 - On April 24, 31-year-old Norwegian adventurer Cecilie Skog reaches the North Pole in just under 49 days, making her the first woman to both climb the highest mountains on seven continents and ski to the so-called "three poles," which refers to the North and South Poles plus climbing Mount Everest. In December 2005, she skied to the South Pole. Skog is the second woman in history to ski to the North Pole from land. The first was Tina Sjogren in 2002.

http://www.northnet.org/stlawrenceaauw/timeline.htm
All American Girls Professional Baseball League


The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was a women's professional baseball league which existed from 1943 to 1954. With the advent of World War II reaching America, and in order to maintain baseball in the public eye while the majority of able men were away, several major league baseball executives started a new professional league with women players. Principal differences with the men's game were in the size of the diamond, the pitching styles and the size of the ball. The players were also required to wear short skirts during play and lipstick at all times, were preferably to have long hair, and not to wear slacks or trousers at any time.

http://www.answers.com/topic/all-american-girls-professional-baseball-league