On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Sky reflects on past experiences and what future generations need
LOS ANGELES — Each member of the Sky has a unique story about what Title IX has meant in their lives and how the law has shaped their opportunities.
Allie Quigley has shared conversations with her mother about the stark difference between their experience as college athletes.
Kahleah Copper, the 2021 WNBA Finals MVP, shared how she grew up playing on men’s summer basketball teams because they were more competitive and opportunities for young women were limited.
During the 50th anniversary review of the legislation, Candace Parker reflected on an afternoon when her daughter, Lailaa, came home from school after a boy told her, “Girls can’t be Super hero.
The next day, Lailaa wore her mother’s Captain Marvel Adidas shoes to school.
“Lailaa is not going to suffer from the thought that she is not enough,” Parker said. “It’s a huge step in my job as a parent, making sure she knows she’s powerful. She can do whatever she wants and she deserves to walk into any room she’s in. she works hard enough to get in. I’ll be the first person in line if there’s a rule that boys have something girls don’t, and she knows it.
The common thread running through the players’ stories is the belief that each generation of women will live better than the last. With this belief comes an understanding that the previous generation has seen worse.
Sky assistant coach Tonya Edwards, who grew up in Flint, Michigan, enrolled in Tennessee in 1986, 14 years after President Richard Nixon signed into law Title IX.
During her recruiting process, she visited Michigan and Michigan State. At both schools, the emphasis was on the football curriculum, Edwards recalled.
When she arrived in Tennessee, the difference was clear. Pat Summitt was not just ticking a box in the fight for fairness. She was setting the standard.
“During my time, the [Tennessee] the men’s basketball program moved to new facilities and the women’s program moved with them,” Edwards said. “There was no stay and play in the old gymnasium. It was telling for the rest of the country. Meanwhile, in the 80s, we sold the arena.
Title IX is reactive and, in order to be respected, requires reports from students, teachers, coaches and other leaders in the event of discrepancies. The most recent example of the importance of maintaining Title IX is Oregon’s Sedona Prince, which revealed stark inequities between the men’s and women’s NCAA March Madness tournaments.
During the first week of June, Quigley, Copper, Dana Evans and Courtney Vandersloot attended the opening of a renovated softball field at Rosenblum Park on the South Shore. When it was their turn to take the mic and address the young athletes and their families, Quigley emphasized the importance of Title IX.
She told attendees that the outcome of following this law does not mean that every young woman who plays sports will be a professional athlete. She said some of them could become doctors, teachers, coaches, business leaders and police officers.
What is important is that they have the same chance of succeeding.
“When we were all younger, and maybe even more so for the women who came before us, it was almost like it was meant to be like this,” Vandersloot said. “It’s something we have to change. It’s not supposed to be like this. Women need equal opportunities.