WMU News

Title IX anniversary marked by great progress

June 13, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Title IX, the landmark legislation that mandated gender equity in all educational programs, was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972. Since then, the measure has had a huge impact on women's athletics, says Dr. Jody Brylinsky, a WMU associate professor of health, physical education and recreation.

"It's had probably the largest social impact on women's participation compared to any other aspect of our society," Brylinsky says. "No doubt, without Title IX, we would not be where we're at today."

Brylinsky says statistics show there are five times more girls participating today in sports on the high school level than before Title IX. And its impact goes beyond competing as an athlete.

"It's really had a bigger effect, not only in terms of more girls and women participating in sport, but certainly more girls and women participating in those other aspects of sport -- coaching, officiating, administrating -- and I also believe just an interest in being physically active," Brylinsky says.

But the battle for true gender equity is still not over, Brylinsky adds. Ironically, fewer women are actually in coaching positions today than when Title IX was enacted because the growing interest in girls' and women's athletics has attracted many more male coaches.

"What we've seen is a steady decline in the number of women being offered coaching opportunities for women," Brylinsky says. "Pre-Title IX, 90 plus percent of the coaching and the leadership involved in women's sports was done by women," she says. "Now the statistic is less than 50 percent."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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