Title IX’s Legacy – The explosion of girls athletics

Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Cary Shuman

No doubt, most of our readers, even those without young daughters, probably saw the announcement in last week’s Sun Transcript that Winthrop Youth Hockey is seeking girl players in the 6-12 age category for a team for next season.

Winthrop Youth Hockey has made great strides under President James Letterie, who also is a town councillor. Girls hockey is one of the fastest growing sports, and Winthrop fans have seen the great opportunities that local players such as Jess Martino, Jillian Dempsey, Alex Smith, and Michelle Golden have garnered through their athletic and scholastic excellence.

Their success reminds us of the many female athletes from Winthrop who have gone on to excel in sports in college in the past 30 years. It was 37 years ago in 1972 that Title IX became part of the American lexicon. The landmark legislation bans sex discrimination in schools, whether in academics or athletics. Regular readers of our The More Things Change column will note that when we write about Winthrop High sports teams of the past, there is no mention of female athletes or teams before 1972, for the simple reason that there were none.

Many doors for female athletes have been opened since Title IX became the law of the land. Winthrop Youth Hockey is adding a new girls team, and that’s great news. What began in 1972 is carrying on today, and we’re pleased to recognize the increasing popularity of women’s sports in society.

To quote a popular ad from the Title IX era, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

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