U.S. President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, astronaut Sally Ride and Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Title IX, the law barring sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds. At the ceremony, President Clinton described the success women and girls have been able to achieve because of the law and commented, “[Title IX gave] them the chance to make the most of their abilities.” Clinton also announced that he was broadening the reach of the law by ordering federal agencies to follow it even though some programs were not technically covered by the law.
Joyner-Kersee, who has won six track and field Olympic medals said she considered cheerleading at an early age because of the ordeal of taking a back-seat to boys’ sports as a child. She commented, “I really didn’t understand why the coach made the long-jump pit in his back yard.” Title IX was passed when Joyner-Kersee was 10 years old; when she entered college, she was awarded a full athletic scholarship to UCLA which she attributes to Title IX.
Ride, the first woman to fly in space, said she had no scholarship to Stanford University, where she played tennis. She commented, “I would have appreciated Title IX being earlier.” She attributed the growing number of women in the space program to Title IX.