Female American Olympians brought 80 medals home from Rio this summer, an epic win that served to underscore the success of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that formally banned sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding.
Even for athletes who never get close to the Olympics, the positive results of evening the playing field for boys and girls is clear: High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unintended pregnancy; more likely to get better grades in school and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports. Exercise reduces a teenage girl’s risk of breast cancer and decreases the incidence of depression. Athletic women and girls have a better body image than non-athletes.
Despite all the evidence of the advantages enjoyed by girls who play sports, the fight for gender equity in athletic opportunities has not been an easy road.
The Lost Haven of Sharon Taylor: Casualties in the Battle for Gender Equality in Sports, a new book by C. Terry Walters provides an unprecedented insider’s perspective on college resistance to Title IX and equal opportunity in the athletic arena.
A long-time winning coach of women’s field hockey and lacrosse, Taylor’s early experiences as an athlete and coach compelled her to advocate for athletic equity since the early years of Title IX. As Athletic Director at Lock Haven University (LHU), she strived for fairness, working to promote and provide for both the women’s and men’s teams.
Despite her even-handed leadership for over 25 years, Sharon was driven into retirement by the supporters of men’s sports who were antagonistic to equity in athletics. Reflecting on events at LHU and the larger national picture of athletic equity, this book reveals in scrupulous detail how animosity to Title IX plays out in our universities.
For the Women’s Law Project, it also provides the backdrop for the complaint we filed with the Office for Civil Rights against LHU for failing to provide equal athletic opportunity to its female students.
The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
Note: If you purchase this book directly from the author at cterrywalters.com he will make a donation of $5.00 per book to the LHU Field Hockey program.