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Lectures will highlight Title IX's role in transformation: Our View

5:49 PM, Oct. 3, 2013  |  Comments
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First, a simple fact that is often not well understood: Title IX is not all about sports. The landmark law revolutionized U.S. education by mandating gender equality across the board, not just on courts and tracks and fields.

The broad impact of the law was described well in a 2002 essay by journalist Lynn Sanders: "Since Title IX became law in 1972, girls cannot be discouraged from taking science classes or prevented from joining the math club. Boys may sign up for cooking classes. Law schools and medical schools were forced to stop using quotas limiting the number of women students and could no longer refuse to admit women by claiming they'd get pregnant and waste their education."

In other words, the law has been the basis for protections and assumptions that today seem obviously just and correct - but that didn't always.

Still, it is certainly true that one of the key and most visible ways Title IX has had an impact on culture is by making athletic programs available to girls, allowing girls and young women to get all the benefits associated with athletics - not just scholarships and the opportunity to compete but also the chance to learn values such as teamwork, discipline, perseverance and all the rest of the qualities that make sports so valuable for so many. In real ways, it paved the way for everything from the WNBA to the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team that captivated us during the 2011 World Cup.

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point last month kicked off a lecture series on Title IX that will lead up to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Final Four Tournament, hosted by Stevens Point in March. The series will cover the politics of the law, its impact on changing gender roles and lots more, and it promises to be enriching.

The next lecture in the series might be one of particular interest to the community. UWSP women's basketball coach Shirley Egner will offer a lecture called "Personal Reflections on Title IX and Women's Collegiate Basketball." Egner, a 25-year veteran head coach for the team and the all-time winningest coach in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history, will have a unique and worthwhile perspective on her topic.

Title IX has had far-reaching effects on culture. We're excited that UWSP is devoting this lecture series to thinking about it, and we look forward to learning more.

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