Last night, the Women’s Sports Foundation and WSF Founder Billie Jean King kicked off the 45th Anniversary of Title IX with a celebration at the New-York Historical Society. Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, female participation in high school sports has grown 35 percentage points and in college by 28.5 percentage points. Despite this tremendous growth, there is still more work to be done to ensure all girls and women have equal access to sports.
Joined by our esteemed Title IX patrons, donors, colleagues and friends, last night was an opportunity to come together and celebrate all that Title IX has done and unite to continue to ensure it is enforced, so that all girls may reap the benefits of sports. Our featured speakers included pioneer Billie Jean King, WSF CEO Deborah Antoine, WSF President Grete Eliassen, ESPN SportsCenter Coast to Coast co-anchor Cari Champion and WNBA President Lisa Borders.
Each of these strong women spoke to the importance and power of Title IX in the United States and how we must continue to uphold this legislation. Before Title IX, only one in 27 girls played sports. Today, that number is two in five. This shows a dramatic increase in participation rates of over 900%.
Also present to help us celebrate were elite athletes including; Ilana Kloss, Tennis; WSF Past President Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Track & Field; WSF Athlete Advisory Panel member Phaidra Knight, Rugby; WSF Past President Dawn Riley, Sailing; WSF Past President Wendy Hilliard, Gymnastics; WSF Past President Lyn St. James, Auto Racing; Collette Smith, Football; Rachel Dawson, Field Hockey; Pam Stuper, Field Hockey; Allison Baver, Short Track Speed Skating; Gerri Viant, Platform Tennis; Annica van Starrenburg, Platform Tennis; Sarah Kate Noftsinger, Soccer.
It was an intimate gathering full of those passionate about Title IX and with a mutual connection of WSF. “Tonight is simply amazing,” said Benita Fitzgerald Mosley. “To have so many supporters of women’s sports and Title IX icons of the movement in one room was pretty exciting and pretty wonderful. I’m just happy to be here.” It was clear that the energy in the room was infectious as everyone celebrated this historic milestone.
“Tonight was absolutely fantastic celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Title IX, incredible. Thank you Billie Jean King!” gushed Grete Eliassen.
“This is truly so historic and it’s great to be in a room full of such powerful people that are going to send that strength over the next 45 years,” commented Wendy Hilliard. The celebration of Title IX’s 45th Anniversary felt especially meaningful as everyone was gathered in the New-York Historical Society founded in 1804 as New York’s first museum. Guests were also allowed to enjoy the new Center for Women’s History, where an exhibit on Billie Jean King’s life and her tennis career is currently featured.
“What an awesome evening tonight to celebrate with people who have been part of this effort for 45 years and those who are learning about [WSF] for the very first time,” said Deborah Antoine. “It’s so important to protect Title IX, to advocate for fair play and we have this worldwide group of people who really care.”
WSF is committed to continuing to advocate for Title IX and is dedicated to creating leaders by providing girls access to sports.
If you would like to make a donation in celebration of Title IX’s 45th Anniversary, please click here.
Specials Thanks to Women’s Sports Foundation:
NBC Sports Group
Title IX Patrons
Jody & John Arnhold
Atria Senior Living
Billie Jean King & Ilana Kloss
Jayma M. Meyer
Susan & Bob Morrison
Sharon E. Taylor & Linda D. Koch
The Woolard Family Foundation
Title IX Anniversary Supporters
Lynn & Seth Abraham
Richard & Pamela Ader
Tiina Bougas-Smith & Lawrence Rand
Susan W. Catherwood
James & Rebecca Morgan
National Hockey League Foundation