Pioneers, role models and drivers of social change: Title IX’s 50-year influence
- Jan 25, 2023
- 2 min read
In 1972, Congress passed a single sentence that became known as Title IX. As a result, it became unlawful to discriminate in educational programs based on sex and began paving the way for equality in sports.
Fifty years later, we celebrate the power of that sentence by speaking with those on the frontlines of equality in women’s sports. Tori Huster, a midfielder for the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) Washington Spirit, as well as president of the National Women's Soccer League Players Association (NWSLPA), is a lifelong soccer star who has played at the professional level since 2012. NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman has been a leader in sports, and social responsibility, throughout her career.
How the influence of sport stretches beyond the playing field
Prior to Title IX, young girls could be denied the opportunity to play sports simply because they were female. In the years following its passage, the country saw an increase in co-ed teams and, eventually, all-female leagues. The lasting impact of this progress takes shape in many ways — in 2021, 329 female athletes competed for the United States in the Tokyo Olympic Winter Games, making it the most gender-equal games in history.
Today — as a result of Title IX — young girls don’t just have opportunity, they have allies and examples of dynamic women who continue to demonstrate power, athleticism and integrity on and off the field. Berman explains, "Sport has influenced my life by showing us in society that it's a place — a platform — for social change, and athletes serve as the role models, and really the pioneers, for showing us what's possible."
It’s no question that sports play an important role in a female’s success. In fact, 94% of C-Suite women are former athletes. However, with women’s sports receiving less than 1% of sponsorship investment and less than 10% of media coverage compared to men’s sports, many girls don’t see a future in sports. Almost 51% of girls drop out of the game by the time they turn 17.
“Watch the Change” to take part in the future of Title IX
We believe that by investing in women’s sports, we’re investing in women’s futures. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Ally has pledged to spend equal media dollars on women’s and men’s sports over the next five years as part of our "Watch the Game. Change the Game ." The hope is to drive meaningful change, bring attention to these incredible athletes, support representation for generations of women to come and challenge other brands to join us in this mission. You can be part of the change, too. The first step is simply tuning in and watching your favorite women’s teams.
Speaking of tuning in, were you one of the 915,000 who watched the 2022 Ally Financial NWSL Championship in its first-ever prime-time spot ? Originally scheduled at noon ET, the game’s move to prime time helped increase viewership by 71%. It’s just one of the many ways we’re all working together to advance the future of women’s sports.
As Huster says, "My hope for women's sports is that there is less and less convincing that's needed. That people see women's sports, and women in general, as more valuable. And that it's more visible and more investment is put behind it — but overall that it can be really celebrated."
Sources: Lough, N., LaVoi, N. M., Pegoraro, A., Lebel, K., Mumcu, C., Antunovic, D. (2022). DisruptHERS: Driving A New Model for Women's Sport.; Ernst & Young & espnW, 2015; Women’s Sports Foundation; Visua; Purdue University, 2021; National Women’s Soccer League, 2022.
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