Hello Edequity Members:
Today we begin our discussion of women and athletics.
The upcoming 2000 Summer Olympics, in Sydney, Australia this month marks
the 97th anniversary of women in the Olympics. Women were not allowed to
participate in the first Olympic games and, in 1900, women competed in just
three sports: tennis, golf, and yachting. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, July
19 to August 4 in Atlanta, Georgia, more women participated than ever
before (36 percent of the athletes were women in 1996, compared to just 30
percent in 1992), and new sports and events for women were added, including
soccer and softball. On the down side, there were still many more male
athletes (6500 men compared to 3700 women) and more male sports and events
at the Olympics.
Women don't make it to the Olympics all by themselves. College and high
school sports participation is critical, and as a result of Title IX, the
federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits gender discrimination in sports
and all other areas of education, more and more girls and young women have
benefited from more athletic participation opportunities and more equitable
facilities. Because of Title IX, more women have also received athletic
scholarships and thus opportunities for higher education that some may not
have been able to afford otherwise.
But female athletes have yet to reach parity with males. Women are still
only about one-third of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletes. In
addition, women college athletes receive less than 24% of college sports'
operating budgets, and less than 18% of college recruiting money.
We will dicuss: barriers to women in athletic careers; women athletes and
the media; and contact sports and violence against women. In addition to
sharing information and research about women and athletics, we encourage
you to post information about strategies for change and resources to
encourage women and girls in athletics.
We look forward to your thoughtful participation.
Susan J. Smith
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