Recently I learned about the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute to Women in Sports, an event held in New York City in October which celebrated the extraordinary achievements of women athletes this year. As 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, this year’s WSF tribute must have been especially meaningful to those in attendance and all of us everywhere who reap the benefits of this landmark law.
However, this rosy picture is not without its thorns. A WSF report released earlier this year (“50 Years of Title IX: We’re Not Done Yet”) reveals that although girls’ participation in sports is nearly 12 times higher than it was at the time of Title IX’s passage in 1972, girls still have far fewer sports opportunities than boys. Not surprisingly, this gap is widest among girls and women of color, LGBTQ+ youth and those with disabilities. As the WSF Annual Salute states, “As transformational as Title IX has been, its full promise has yet to be met.”
What can each of us do? Here are 3 places to start, says WSF:
- understand women’s and girls’ rights to equal access and opportunity
- be vigilant in ensuring those rights are upheld
- do not take these rights for granted and raise your voice if you feel they’re being compromised
In the meantime, let’s celebrate the WSF 2022 honorees:
- Wilma Rudolph Courage Award: Elana Meyers Taylor, the most decorated Black athlete in winter Olympic history (four-time Olympic bobsledder)
- Champion for Equality Award: Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Angel
City FC, a call-to-action for society to invest in women’s sports
- Billie Jean King Leadership Award: Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Head Coach
- Individual Sportswoman of the Year: Sunisa Lee, 2020 Olympic Gymnastics All-Around Gold Medalist
- Team Sportswoman of the Year: Maggie Steffens, Water Polo
What’s clear is that it’s up to all of us to pave the road to true equity. Let’s get to work.