Congress enacted Title IX on June 23, 1972
“Title IX laid waste to everything. It laid waste to ideas — men’s ideas of what women were capable of, but most importantly, women’s ideas about themselves.”
I was twelve years old when Title IX was enacted. I knew it had happened – I grew up in Washington, DC in a political household, so we knew and talked about legislation – but I don’t think it was personal for me at first.
Five years later, I was in high school. My best friend said, “I’m starting a girl’s cross-country track team and I want you to join me.” I’d never run anywhere at that point. Nor did I come from an athletic family. But I joined on principle: our high school had a boy’s cross-country team so it should have a girl’s team, too.
I ran cross-country during my last two years there. The joy I felt at developing strength and stamina in the company of friends was unexpected.
We just passed the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Looking back, I realize that Title IX changed my life. That high school experience running track has led to a lifetime of athleticism. I am, knock on wood, an exceptionally healthy 62-year-old. I lift weights, swim solo in large NH lakes, ride bicycles and ski.
But without Title IX to open my eyes to possibility, I never would have embarked on this active life. Thus, I am exceptionally grateful today to the people who worked to pass Title IX legislation in the United States in 1972.