Two senior members of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campus Program Team mobilized dozens of students in the Chicago area to attend President Bush’s Commission on Equal Opportunity in Athletics’ second set of hearings, which took place earlier last month. Students on 15 campuses within a 200-mile radius of the Chicago area learned about the commission’s Chicago hearings from FMF while at least 10 students signed up to speak about the positive impact of Title IX on their lives.
“I wouldn’t have had a scholarship. I wouldn’t have had a team. I wouldn’t have had a community on my campus if it weren’t for Title IX,” said Kelly Kennedy, a former member of the varsity women’s volleyball team at the University of Wisconsin and now a professional volleyball player for the Chicago Thunder.
The administration claims that the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics was formed to ensure that Title IX allows fairness for both sexes, while the Feminist Majority Foundation and other leading women’s groups are calling the commission the newest attempt to weaken a landmark federal law that eliminated gender discrimination in education.
“Despite the overwhelming successes and support that Title IX enjoys, despite the fact that participation in school sports has increased for boys and girls since the passage of Title IX, the Bush Administration has created this commission to undermine Title IX and all the opportunities it provides women in athletics,” stated Katherine Minarik, Director of Campus Programs of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, requires federally-funded educational institutions to grant male and female students equal opportunities in academics, athletics, funding and resources. Critics claim that it has done so in the athletic realm at the expense of men’s sports. In 1971, only 294,015 girls participated in high school athletics. Today, over 2.7 million girls participate in high school athletics, an 847 percent increase, according to the US Department of Education. For more on Title IX and gender equality in sports, visit http://www.feminist.org/sports/titleIX.html.###