Gender Inequality in Sports: From Title IX to World Titles
Twenty-first Century Books
Published April 5, 2022
About Gender Inequality in Sports
“We trained just as hard and we have just as much love for our sport. We deserve to play just as much as any other athlete. . . . I am sick and tired of being treated like I am second rate. I plan on standing up for what is right and fighting for equality.” –Sage Ohlensehlen, Women’s Swim Team Captain at the University of Iowa
Forty years ago, US president Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law, making it illegal for federally funded education programs to discriminate based on sex. The law set into motion a massive boom in girls and women’s sports teams, from kindergarten to the collegiate level. Professional women’s sports grew in turn. Title IX became a massive touchstone in the fight for gender equality. So why do girls and women–including trans and intersex women–continue to face sexist attitudes and unfair rules and regulations in sports?
The truth is that the road to equality in sports has been anything but straightforward, and there is still a long way to go. Schools, universities, and professional organizations continue to struggle with addressing unequal pay, discrimination, and sexism in their sports programming. Delve into the history and impact of Title IX, learn more about the athletes at the forefront of the struggle, and explore how additional changes could lead to equality in sports.
“Girls are socialized to know . . . that gender roles are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. And men make the decisions. . . . When these girls are coming out, who are they looking up to telling them that’s not the way it has to be? And where better to do that than in sports?” –Muffet McGraw, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Notre Dame
“Fighting for equal rights and equal opportunities entails risk. It demands you put yourself in harm’s way by calling out injustice when it occurs. Sometimes it’s big things, like a boss making overtly sexist remarks or asserting they won’t hire women. But far more often, it’s little, seemingly innocuous, things . . . that sideline the women whose work you depend on every day. You can use your privilege to help those who don’t have it. It’s really as simple as that.” –Liz Elting, women’s rights advocate
At this point, I’ve read several titles published by Twenty-First Century Books, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. This one might have been the hardest for me to read, though.
I loved the information and especially the spotlighted stories of individual athletes and what they faced in order to compete. Some of the sections were a little bit dry, though. The sidebars were often really long, and it didn’t feel like there were very many of them. I think if the text had been broken up a little bit more with graphics or charts it might have made the book more engaging.
I learned a lot reading GENDER INEQUALITY IN SPORTS. There were lots of things I’d heard of (like Title IX), but that I didn’t know much about the history of, so I enjoyed learning more about those things. The text also raised some points that I hadn’t really thought about– especially in the section that compared television coverage of women’s versus men’s sports events. I even ended up having an interesting conversation with my dad about sports after reading the book, so I feel like just that alone made it worth reading the book.
On the whole, I’m really glad I read this book. I learned some new things, and I think it was a good resource to broaden my understanding of not just Title IX but professional sports and the disparities between the way people of different genders are treated.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Includes stories of BIPOC women as well as transgender women and people.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief mentions of violence, such as when a man rips a woman’s running number from her back during a race. Brief mentions of sexual abuse and harassment. For example, the trial against Larry Nassar is mentioned.
Mentions that some women athletes injected testosterone to try to give themselves a physical advantage in sports competitions.
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