June 6, 2011
Women in Sports
Women participation in competitive sports and other physical activities was limited in the U.S. until Federal Legislation, mainly know as Title IX, became law. This law required American society to recognize women’s rights to take part in sports. During the time periods before 1870, activities for females were on the recreational level. Then later in the 1800’s and early 190’s, women started forming clubs that were athletic in nature. Early college sports for women were largely unrecognized by historians because competition was among college students and not institutions. Competitions included intramural, club, sorority matches, and the occasional play day, which were special dates where women competed in sports and activities against students and teams from their own school. Women were not active in intercollegiate sports until the introduction of basketball at Smith College in 1892. The first teams to compete in intercollegiate athletics were University of California, Berkley vs. Stanford and University of Washington vs. Ellensburg Normal School in 1896. Competitive events for females increased in the early 1900’s. The women’s suffrage movement in the late 19th and 20th centuries resulted in the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. The first feminist movement resulted in uncertain gains for women in sports and intercollegiate competition. In 1966, the Division for Girls and Women in Sports (DGWS) appointed Commission on Intercollegiate Sports for Women (CISW), to aid in conducting intercollegiate competitions. In 1969, a schedule of national championships for women’s sports was announced. This schedule included gymnastics and track and field. Later in 1970, swimming, badminton, and volleyball were added then finally basketball in 1972. Women, however, wanted an institutional membership organization similar to the NCAA. This brought the replacement of the CIAW by the...