’Hawks mark 40 years of gender equality
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 03:10
Forty years ago, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 changed the face of athletics as discrimination based on sex was banned from all federally funded education programs and doors across the United States opened to female athletes.
Miami University heralded the 40th anniversary of Title IX this past weekend with its ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Title IX’ event.
The event, sponsored by the Women’s Center and the Department for Intercollegiate Athletics, included a keynote speaker Oct. 5, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation and a three-time gold and silver medalist in swimming in the 1984 Olympics.
The event concluded Oct. 6 with a luncheon at the Marcum Conference Center with distinguished Miami alumnae and athletics staff members.
Title IX prohibits discrimination in the participation and benefits of any educational program or activity that receives federal financial assistance, and it encompasses public elementary schools, high schools and colleges and universities, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. In her Oct. 5 lecture, Hogshead-Makar said although Title IX is typically recognized for its role in athletics, it includes a wide span of federally funded education programs, including career education.
She said without Title IX, she would not have had the opportunity to achieve all that she did in swimming. She said women in the generation before her were told it went against femininity to compete in sports and they were denied opportunities. She also said when she was in high school, girls did not compete in college athletics.
“All of a sudden it was like a torch hit the country (referring to the effects of Title IX),” Hogshead-Makar said. “There were swimming programs all over the country. I had never thought I would swim in college and I can say if it had not been for this statute, I would never have gotten to swim in college.”
She went on to tie for her first gold medal in the Olympics.
Hogshead-Makar said Title IX requires effective accommodation of students’ interests and abilities, equal benefits, opportunities, treatment and equal financial assistance. She said in 1979, the Office for Civil Rights issued a three prong test to ensure that schools were complying with these requirements in athletics.
According to Hogshead-Makar, there are many myths about the implications and consequences of Title IX. For instance, she said it is not true that Title IX harms men, particularly in the area of sports.
“Women’s gains do not come at the expense of men’s,” Hogshead-Makar said.
She said there are still 1.3 million more sports opportunities for boys than for girls every year in high school and boys’ participation in sports in high school does not drop as girls’ increases.
She also said boys’ opportunities still far outweigh girls’ opportunities for sports in high school, and that boys had more participation at their peak that girls have ever had.
Hogshead-Makar also said it is not true that men are denied some sports opportunities in college because of Title IX. She said equal opportunities must be provided to men and women, but the opportunities can look different. For instance, a university could offer track, rugby and lacrosse to women but offer basketball, football and soccer to men and still be compliant with Title IX.
“You have to give the same opportunities to boys and girls,” Hogshead-Makar said. “But it can be divided up how ever. Men can have different sports teams than women.”
Senior Jenny Warmolts is a swimmer at Miami who attended Hogshead-Makar’s lecture. She said it meant a lot to hear a former swimmer speak.
“I’m not that educated about Title IX,” Warmolts said. “I didn’t know how much it meant and how far we’ve come and I also didn’t know how far we have to go. There is still inequality.”
Hogshead-Makar said there are still problems in enforcing Title IX, which does result in unequal treatment of men and women.
“Some schools choose to come into compliance by ‘cheating,’” she said. “They sort of fudge the numbers and say that women are on the team who really aren’t on the team.”
Sophomore Jared Tadlock is a basketball player at Miami. He said that Title IX has opened up many opportunities.
“I think it’s cool because it gives a chance for both genders to compete at the collegiate level,” Tadlock said. “It’s brought about different sports and evened out the playing field for both men’s and women’s opportunities.”