Students, faculty and staff filled the Paul E. Johnson Room on Feb. 6 to hear the personal stories of people involved in women sports discuss the impact that Title IX has had on their lives and careers. The panel discussion was held in connection with National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Panelists included Christina Amato, chair of physical education at Colgate University; Jennifer Bruening, director of the Laboratory for Sport Management; Tom Farrey, director of the Aspen Institute's Sport's and Society Program; Theresa Grentz, former head coach of women's basketball at the University of Illinois; and Carolyn Vanacore, 2006 Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.
In 1972, the landmark Title IX legislation was passed prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender in higher education institutions. Since then, Title IX has expanded access to all educational programs, including admissions, financial aid, employment, and athletics. "I think if you establish yourself as a hardworking, powerful woman, you can look to do more of the things that we were never able to do when I was a kid," said Vanacore. "So I encourage you and the women of the world to be the best that you can be."
Bruening mentioned how different things are now from when she grew up. "People used to say, 'if girls competed with boys and won, the boys would quit. It is the right of a boy to play a sport and not a girl's right to be better that them.' That viewpoint has changed so much." Grentz discussed her experience working as a coach in an all-male profession. "In a profession where all the decisionmakers were male, I had to learn how to deal with that." Amato stated that although women in college have come a long way under Title IX, there are still improvements that need to be made. "I feel like women are still being exploited and objectified in the media for their body rather than their skill. So I would like to see change there."