The Glass Playing Field

 The Impact of Title IX on Women's Leadership in Athletics: The Glass Playing Field

          Since Title IX, women have more chances in sports, but the playing field is far from being level. Title IX opened the door to women in college sports giving them equal representation and promised no discrimination. For women, these 37 words written in Title IX gave hope to their athletic and educational dreams that previously seemed impossible to reach: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” [1] This statement from Title IX broke through the glass ceiling women previously faced in college athletics.  More opportunities have arisen for young women to turn their sport into their profession. Collegiate coaching programs have also expanded. However, in this section I will argue that the playing field is far from even and I will highlight the disparity between men and women specifically representation within college athletic administration. More specifically, calling attention to women's representation in athletic administration, the lack of diversity, and funding for female leadership roles.  

Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education, community engagement and chief inclusion officer, released a statment on the 45th anniversary of Title IX. He acknowleged the progress made and barriers that women still face in the NCAA and created a call to action to leaders within the association [2]: 

“While it is very encouraging to see progress has been made over the last 45 years with respect to the federal law Title IX and opportunities for women, the data also shows that there is still much to be done to increase equity and diversity, and to create a more balanced scenario in intercollegiate athletics for our student athletes and administrators. I encourage all college presidents, athletics directors and conference commissioners to read this report and determine where their actions and voice can be best utilized in the support and progression for female administrators and our student athletes both now and in the future [3]." 

What is Title IX? 

          Gender inequities between athletic programs have undergone a great deal of criticism and are thought to be rectified by the introduction of Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972. Title IX was preceded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation on grounds of race, color, religious background in all federally supported services, however, it did not include discrimination on basis of sex. Six years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Congress held the first hearings on gender inequality in higher education, which led to the creation of Title IX of the Education Amending Act of 1972, implemented on June 2 ,1972 [4].  t clearly lays out standards, policies, and tools to resolve inequities and sexism that could have an effect on the capacity of both male and female students to have appropriate and productive experiences in the school system. At the time of its implementation (and even to this day)  some believe that Title IX is a benefit initiative for women, although, in fact, it does not provideall the benefits to women in athletics due to the bias that sports are a "man's game." 

What are the effects of Title IX on athletics? 

          The introduction of Title IX resulted in the establishment of many sporting teams to encourage equality and a significant rise in the number of women competing in athletics. The total of female-student competitors in the school year 2017-2018 were six times more than pre-Title IX [5]. However, historical representation is yet to be reached, with women accounting for 57% of the national college student population, but just 42% of intercollegiate athletics [6].  

The Effects on Women in Leaderships Roles: 

       The term homogenic masculinity is often used to strengthen the argument of the persistent inequality among men and women in leadership roles but is especially prevalent in athletics due to the system that legitimizes the privileged role of men in society and justifies the subordination of the general male and female population and other marginal aspects of being a man [7]. By focusing on the imbalance of women among leadership roles, and the lack of funding, diversity and representation, establishes barriers that Title IX did not break down but, instead, built walls for women in the field [8]. 

Learn More: 

[1] Iram, Valentin, "Title IX: A Brief History," Holy Cross Journal of Law and Public Policy 2 (1997): 123-138
[4] Parnther, Ceceilia, Jennifer Deraneck, and Scott Michael “Title IX and the Impact of Athletic Leadership” The Hilltop Review, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Article 8.
[5] Parnther, Deraneck, Michael “Title IX and the Impact of Athletic Leadership”
[6] Pasque, Penny “Empowering Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs” ACPA,  Accessed November 17 2020. 
[7]  Whisenant, Warren A., Paul M. Pedersen, and Bill L. Obenour. "Success and Gender: Determining the Rate of Advancement for Intercollegiate Athletic Directors." Sex Roles 47, no. 9 (11, 2002): 485-491,
[8] Hall, Ruth L. and Carole A. Oglesby. "Stepping through the Looking Glass: The Future for Women in Sport." Sex Roles 74, no. 7-8 (04, 2016): 271-274, 



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