Title IX has spurred a dramatic growth in women’s participation in sports since its passage in 1972. In 1971, one in twenty-seven girls played school sports, but the Women’s Sports Foundation found that that number soared to one in three girls playin g school sports in 1994. This past year, women spent more on athletic shoes than men for the first time, $5.4 billion versus $5.2 billion. However, only 15% of Nike’s $138 million ad budget from last year went to ads solely targetng women. Nike and Ree bok both plan to step up their products and advertising for women with Nike CEO Phil Knight admitting that, “the company recently got a little less stupid.”
Already, Reebok has initiated educational programs and created Girls’ Sports Summit to encourage girls to play sports. The company also hosted a Sports Training Challenge for high school junior and senior female athletes this past summer. Nike has wo n critical acclaim for its recent advertisements which urge parents to encourage their girls to play sports. In the ad, girls say how playing sports helps their physical fitness and makes them feel better about themselves. One girl says that playing spo rts will make her more likely to leave her husband if he beats her.