CHICAGO – Title IX is just 37 words, but without them, girls across the country may have never had the same opportunity to play sports as boys do.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman are commemorating the landmark legislation’s 50th Anniversary with a weeklong celebration sponsored by the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, Sox and Fire FC.
Wednesday night Lightfoot handed out Title IX Hero Awards to Sky superstar Candace Parker, DePaul head coach Doug Bruno and tennis legend Billie Jean King for their contribution and dedication to advocating for women’s sports.
But all three know there is still a lot of work to be done.
“There is not just a civil rights movement in this country where people are having to fight every single day to get equal treatment. There is also a gender rights issue in this country where more than half the population have to fight every single day to have equal opportunity,” noted Bruno.
“Just to hear [Billie Jean King] say they had a quota at Harvard of how many women could become doctors – the limitation that our world puts on women and for 50 years to see that growth and see little bit by bit be stripped away. But, we’re not done,” explained Parker. “I know this is a celebration, but I owe it to the future generation to challenge all of us here, challenge all those that are listening to continue to open up the door for young girls; to continue to really value the diversity of thought, the diversity of leadership; to continue to empower young girls in their mindsets. It’s not okay in fourth grade that the boys get brand new uniforms and the girls don’t. They get hand-me-downs. That’s not okay. I have bragging rights. My nephews are here. My oldest brother – he played ten years in the league. He played with LeBron. He was cool, whatever. My nephew wears my jersey to school on jersey day.”
Parker cited visibility as the most important factor in uplifting women’s sports while calling on boys and dads to be allies to advance them even further.
More information about Chicago Title IX week, which runs through July 23rd, can be found here.