Gender Equality in Sports

Topics: High school, Title IX, Gender Pages: 6 (2131 words) Published: October 8, 1999
How is it fair that a men's college basketball team is able to be transported on planes and dine on steak, while a women's team from the same college, travels in a van and eats fast food? It's not, but this occurs often nowadays even with laws passed preventing this type of discrimination. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against girls and women in federally funded education, including athletic programs (Kiernan 3). Many schools and colleges have not been able to comply with the Title IX standards mostly because of money. Some of the problems in high schools and colleges consist of insufficient scholarships for girls, not enough coaching jobs, a lack of equipment, and a limited amount of supplies. Not only does this inequality in athletic programs exist in both schools and colleges, but it is also prominent in many professional sports. After more than 25 years since the beginning of Title IX, there still is no gender equality among men and women in high school, college, and professional sports.

Passed in 1972 by United States President Richard Nixon, Title IX was supposed to give women equality in sports, yet in the year 2001 there is still little difference in the way women are treated in sports. No legislative act has had a more powerful impact on the world of sports other than Title IX. Before Title IX was passed, only 31,000 women participated in sports, but in 1997, 120,000 women were active in sports around the country (Wulf 1). Title IX is now synonymous with women trying to find equity in athletics, but it originally had nothing to do with sports. It was a part of a larger legislative act passed to avoid any type of discrimination in the school system (Kiernan 1). Since 1972, the original purpose of Title IX has been clouded by media battles and a whirlwind of misinformation. Until the law required compliance, many schools did not take Title IX to be a serious legislative act.

Compliance was not required until 1978, that's six years after the law was first instilled into the American culture. The department that leads the battle for compliance was called the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, or often called OCR for short (Wine 1). All institutions receiving federal funding must comply with at least one of three specific criteria. One of them that they could choose is identified as ‘proportional representation'. Another is that the school shows a ‘continual progress' towards gender equality. The third one that a school could prefer to follow is ‘accommodation of interests' (Almond 5). Even though institutions are required by law to meet one of those terms, a school rarely complies sufficiently with Title IX. In fact, at a few schools certain opportunities have diminished for women. Since Title IX was passed, women's teams, at some schools, have shrunk due to death of field hockey in 1991 (Pinney 2). Although it is not required for schools to comply, funding for women's teams have not been equal either.

Money is usually a problem with many things in life, one of them also happens to be gender equality. Colleges and universities spend an average of $1.6 million on the men's athletics program. Yet, the women's athletic teams receive nearly half that amount (Almond 2). Women should not be receiving half the amount that a men's team gets just because their sports are less ‘popular' than men's. A school's main objective may be to promote the men's team first, to get out of a deficit. Then they may be able to finance the women's team with the money they make from the men's sporting events. That is not an equal or fair solution. It would take years to pay off a deficit and then sufficiently finance the female athletic programs. Numerical equality would take a vast quantity of public tax money in addition to the financial assistance that now pays for most of women's sports. Universities increased its support of women's athletics over the years...


  • Almond, Elliot. "Title IX 25 Years Later, Women Athletes still a Step Behind." The Seattle Times. (22 June 1997): 5 pp. On-Line. Internet. 3 May 2001. Available:
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