Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kenneth Aslakson




Athletics, Gender Equity, Women, Second-Wave Feminism, Title IX


During the first half of the twentieth century, the field of athletics in the United States was dominated by a culture of masculinity. Due to this inherent link with masculinity, American women were kept from participating in sports to protect their feminine nature. As the years passed of continuous oppression, only a small handful of women were able to fight back and make a name for themselves as prominent and successful athletes. To combat the larger issue of gender discrimination in America, a women’s movement was launched in the 1960s and 1970s. This movement would in turn spur the creation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX was not originally created to address gender inequalities in athletics, but it is clearly what has been most impacted by the law.

Since its creation in 1972, Title IX the law has faced near constant backlash out of the fear it would negatively influence men’s sports. Despite this backlash, the law has persisted to create more opportunities for women to become involved in sports. The law has led to a distinct increase in female participation rates at the high school and collegiate level, while also leading to health and social benefits for female athletes. Popularity in women’s professional sports have also increased significantly since the law’s implementation. Title IX has revolutionized women’s athletics in the United States, but its road to doing so has not been easy.