In 2022, Title IX celebrated its 50th anniversary. Title IX is a law that disallows discrimination based on gender for all education programs or activities receiving federal financial support. This has provided more equality for women and the LGBTQIA+ community by giving them more opportunities to play sports at the high school, college and professional level.
Before Title IX, Donna de Varona, an Olympic swimmer from the 1960s, TV sports journalist and women’s sports advocate, stated, “In the early 1970s, around 50,000 men went to university thanks to sports scholarships, compared to around 50 women, and at high school, only one girl in 27 practiced any kind of sports activity.”
In 1972, Title IX was the first step to challenging these inequalities in the sports world impacting women and LGBTQIA+ athletes. This includes Ms. Gibalski, a PE teacher and Heritage’s lacrosse coach, and Ms. Schrader, Heritage’s Athletic Director. Because of Title IX, they were able to play sports at the college level due to athletic scholarships, which has largely impacted their career choices and who they are today.
A generation later, Title IX is extending its impact past equality in schools and sports. For Sofia Funk, ’23, a female wrestler on Heritage’s team who is also pursuing a career in aviation, “[Wrestling] has helped [her] succeed in male-dominated areas; there are not a lot of women in aviation.”
Despite the positive influence Title IX has had on women and LGBTQIA+’s equality, individuals and society need to continue to strive for progress. Ms. Gibalski expands on this by stating, “we have made great strides, but we definitely can’t be okay with where we are.” For Heritage students, this can be attending and supporting Heritage’s girls sports which, starting this year, has become easier. Heritage has decided to double head boys and girls athletic events, which ensures that similar athletic events occur on the same day. By making this change, administrators hope that more students will attend girls’ athletic events. Therefore, it is up to Heritage students to take this opportunity to better support girls athletics and help Heritage foster a culture that sustains equality.