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UC Berkeley Library occasion celebrates 50 years of Title IX, a game-changer for ladies in sports activities


Speakers sit at a table in Morrison Library
Left to proper: WNBA participant Layshia Clarendon, Cal pupil Maddi Wong, professor and writer Bonnie J. Morris, and writer Lucy Jane Bledsoe make up the panel on the “Title IX at 50” occasion in Morrison Library. (Photographs by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

It’s an event worthy of celebration — with a facet of activism.

Fifty years in the past, on June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into regulation, banning sex-based discrimination in federally funded faculties. Amongst its far-reaching results, the regulation ushered in a brand new period for women and girls in sports activities — a bunch that had too typically been sidelined in class athletics, whilst alternatives for males abounded.

On Thursday in Morrison Library, a panel of luminaries got here collectively for a pleasant and intimate, joyful but sober dialogue referred to as “Title IX at 50: Wanting Again, Wanting Ahead.” Throughout the speak, the panelists — authors Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Bonnie J. Morris; WNBA All-Star and Cal basketball alum Layshia Clarendon; and pupil filmmaker Maddi Wong — mirrored upon the regulation’s legacy, and the work that is still.

“I believed it was fabulous,” mentioned attendee Peggy Guare, a former pupil athlete at an all-girls Catholic faculty, of the speak. “There’s nothing higher than listening to individuals’s tales stay, in individual.”

Guare, who was drawn to the occasion partly due to her connections to sports activities and the work of Bledsoe and Morris, mentioned she was delighted to listen to from the panelists who had grown up within the post-Title IX period, and who have been carrying ahead the push for equality.

“It’s an actual deal with to see the following technology and listen to from them about their experiences, and their struggles,” she mentioned.

Layshia ClarendonA crowd listens in the Morrison Library
High to backside: Left to proper: Clarendon says basketball saved their life; the in-person Morrison Library viewers was regaled with panelists’ readings, reflections, and vigorous anecdotes.

Listed here are three issues we realized from the speak.

1. Title IX was a milestone for progress. However the battle is much from over.

Title IX was one thing of a tidal shift. However the regulation comes with its personal limitations in scope and affect, leaving cracks the place inequality can take root.

The U.S. Structure doesn’t embrace any express safety in opposition to sex-based discrimination on the idea of intercourse, mentioned Bledsoe, who authored the lately launched, “closely autobiographical” novel No Stopping Us Now, a narrative of “basketball, love, sisterhood, and activism.” The nineteenth Modification, granting girls the precise to vote, was handed solely 100 years in the past. And the Equal Rights Modification was written 100 years in the past and hasn’t handed but.

An try by the Biden Administration to broaden Title IX has been met with fierce pushback. And in the future after the proposal was introduced, the Supreme Courtroom struck down Roe v. Wade, erasing hard-fought positive factors by the motion for abortion rights, a blow to girls and individuals who can bear youngsters.

In brief, “Title IX has a variety of heavy lifting to do,” mentioned Bledsoe, a Cal alum and former pupil athlete.

As written, the regulation is proscribed by its concentrate on faculties that settle for federal funding: “Title IX ends while you graduate,” famous Morris, who teaches the favored Sports activities and Gender course at UC Berkeley and lately authored the ebook What’s the Rating? Twenty-5 Years of Instructing Girls’s Sports activities Historical past.

After faculty, girls athletes would possibly face a drop-off in assets, together with having to apply in less-than-ideal amenities — a highschool health club with no showers, for instance.

When COVID-19 compelled faculty basketball into “the bubble,” girls gamers have been disadvantaged of the identical ample facilities that the boys’s groups obtained, famous Wong, whose documentary i’m lady shines mild on the experiences of Cal girls athletes and sports activities professionals.

This disparity, together with different points, from the unfair burden of social expectations confronted by girls athletes to the necessity for extra girls in administrative positions within the trade, underscores the significance of continued motion.

“There’s nonetheless a lot room for development and progress that must be made,” Wong mentioned.

2. That story about Invoice Clinton.

In 1995 — 23 years after Title IX had handed — Morris, then a girls’s research professor at George Washington College, attended a double-header basketball sport, with the boys’s and ladies’s groups scheduled to play. Invoice Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, have been in attendance. The lads’s crew performed first, notching a victory. Then, shortly after the ladies’s crew took the court docket, the president bought as much as go away, Morris mentioned. That’s when Morris stepped in, making her method to Clinton.

“I … put my hand out and mentioned, ‘Hello, Mr. President,’” Morris recounted. “I’m a girls’s research professor right here, and I’d wish to ask you to remain and watch the ladies play. Don’t go away now that the boys have performed. It might be significant to all of us, and your daughter right here, in case you would present your help for Title IX regulation and American girls by cheering on the ladies’s crew, which truly has a greater report than the boys’s.

“Please sit down, sir.”

As Morris remembers, Clinton responded by stating he had a gathering on the White Home at 3 o’clock. Morris glanced on the clock and recommended he keep for the primary 5 minutes. Clinton took his seat, apparently heeding her request.

“So I gave a direct order to the president of america,” Morris quipped.

3. Basketball saves lives.

For Clarendon, the WNBA, and the sport of basketball, has supplied acceptance, and room for self-expression.

“I at all times had freedom in my gender in basketball, in sports activities,” mentioned Clarendon, the league’s first brazenly transgender and nonbinary participant. “As somebody who’s masc presenting, I might at all times put on sweatpants. It was acceptable to my dad and mom. I at all times knew there have been queer athletes, even earlier than we knew the phrase ‘queer.’”

Sure, Clarendon has skilled homophobia as an athlete. However by means of sports activities, they’ve additionally been launched to a supportive, inclusive group.

“I at all times had Black girls round me,” Clarendon mentioned. “I at all times had queer individuals on my groups. After which I had that sense of gender-affirmation earlier than I knew what gender-affirmation was and will embody it in myself. …

“(Basketball) saved my life in so some ways.”



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