The Bench is Deep for Title IX

By Francesca Ernst on
June 21, 2012

In 1972, the Fortune 500 listed only one woman CEO of note: Katharine Graham of The Washington Post. In those days, if you looked through a list of 100 graduating lawyers, you’d find only seven women. Of 100 doctors, there were nine. Between 1971 and 1973, just 15 of the 535 people elected to Congress were female—less than 3%.

They were few, but they were fierce. And Title IX, the 1972 law banning sex discrimination in all facets of public education (including sports), made them trailblazers for future generations. With Title IX’s 40th anniversary on June 23, we see now more than ever how their dedication, hard work, and legacy made a difference.

Today, eighty percent of leading women in Fortune 500 companies attribute part of their success to sports growing up. Almost half of those graduating from law and medical schools are female.  Let’s face it: whether on the courts or in the courts, this landmark legislation paved the way for more girls to get a fair shot over a lifetime.

As mentioned in our last post, EMILY’s List women have long been on the front lines fighting for gender equality in education and sports. From Patsy Mink’s first draft of the law, to Barbara Mikulski’s move to strengthen it through the Civil Rights Restoration Act in 1988, to the ongoing support demonstrated by EL alums like Janet Napolitano, Mazie Hirono and Carol Shea-Porter (among many others) – Title IX has always found an ardent ally in EMILY’s List women.

In 1972, Patsy Mink and Edith Green stood up to a male-dominated government and gave voice to the girls and women looking for a fair shot for their future. While challenges remain, 40 years later, we know their legacy will continue to thrive. Why? Because our candidates know firsthand the difference Title IX has made in their lives:

  • Fitness and sports are still a great outlet for Illinois College Hall of Famer Cheri Bustos. She may be a natural with the football (below), but this woman knows how to work hard to win!
  • Ever played squash? Me either. But I know it’s fast and incredibly difficult. NBD though, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was captain of her team at Dartmouth.
  • As a sprinter at 5 feet 4 inches, Val Demings knew early on that “you gotta use what you have to win the game.”
  • Tammy Duckworth, Julia Brownley, and Michelle Lujan Grisham all played three sports or more in high school. Michelle was even the All City Co-Ed Tennis Champion.

Our candidates are a testament to Title IX’s legacy of empowering women to become leaders in their schools, communities, and government. As more young girls today benefit from Title IX’s legacy through sports, fitness, and health, we are creating a new generation of women ready to become tomorrow’s leaders. Electing more women leaders creates a Congress that is more representative of the population it serves.

Join their team. Help us elect more women to Congress to be role models for the young girls of today and ensure that policies for women and families – like Title IX -  will be here to stay.










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