The fiftieth anniversary of Title IX should and will be more than a celebration

This is an editor’s note to let our readers know that this is the first of several days over the next four months that you’ll see stories from us celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Another purpose of this note is to tell you that our series of stories will do more than celebrate. Much work remains to be done on measures of gender equity in sport.

This anniversary is indeed a time to celebrate, but also a time to revisit issues and highlight challenges and obstacles. We will do all of these things over the next four months, today until June 23, the day the Education Amendments were signed into law 50 years ago.

The next morning in 1972, readers of the Minneapolis Tribune learned of this landmark legislation — if they read carefully. There it was, on an inside page of the news section, the 15th paragraph of a news agency article: “The bill would withdraw federal aid to any public undergraduate graduate school or university that would discriminate against women.

A paragraph. It was a whisper, really. Heck, Title IX itself is only 37 words. Sport was not mentioned in the law or in the news. No one knew what awaited them or what to expect. We’ll know what to expect, however, when the Women’s Hockey State Tournament begins today and when the NCAA Women’s Final Four comes to town in a few weeks. Sports – full-featured, unbraked, high-powered sports. It’s been a good half century.

“I thought it was going to be a sprint when I was 25,” Chris Voelz told me the other day. “It was a marathon – no, an ultramarathon.”

Ultramarathons are worth celebrating. We will celebrate. You will read stories of joy, opportunity, equality, power and progress. This anniversary, however, is not a finish line. We will seek balance in our coverage. And our daily coverage of women’s and women’s sports will be one of the topics. Challenges and celebrations, both.

I asked Voelz, a lifelong equality advocate and former athletic director at the University of Minnesota, how she felt about balance and tone for the moment.

“It’s a celebration, a celebration of progress that you can see everywhere,” she said. “You can see it in the Olympics, in law and medicine, in boardrooms, throughout society, sports and our cultures.

“And yet, it’s also a moment of reflection. Let’s think about how we can continue this trajectory for the next 50 years.”

. . .

Title IX at age 50

An occasional series focused on gender equity in Minnesota sports

Today’s stories:

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