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Athletes in Action: vocabulary The Godmother of Title IX 5


Read the passage, then answer the TWO practice questions.

The Godmother of Title IX

  1. When Bernice Sandler was a little girl, she noticed that boys were given more opportunities and responsibilities than girls. At school, boys were given all the fun jobs like running the slide projector and taking care of the class pet. Typically, it was assumed that only boys would play sports, study science and math, and apply to college. Sandler was determined to do something about that.
  2. Sandler’s determination grew more fierce when, as an adult, she was passed over for college teaching jobs in favor of men who were less capable. She researched how Black Civil Rights leaders fought against racism. Then, she applied those approaches to the battle for gender equality. Together with the Women's Equity Action League, she started a national campaign against gender discrimination at universities. They worked with members of Congress to try to make these practices illegal. Eventually, Sandler’s efforts paid off. In 1972 President Nixon signed a new law, known as Title IX. IX is the Roman number nine—so the law is pronounced “Title Nine.” Title IX made it illegal for schools and universities that receive government funding to discriminate against people because of their gender.
  3. Title IX caused many positive changes for women in the US. Most famously, it has had a permanent impact on women's sports, causing a dramatic rise in participation. Before the law, only 7% of athletes in US high school sports were girls. Since Title IX, the number of girls playing high school sports has increased by 990%, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. And many studies show that taking part in sports contributes to long-term benefits for the women who participate. They're more likely to be healthier, to graduate on time, and to have careers, compared to those who don't play sports.
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  1. Title IX has certainly had a positive impact on female athletes. However, many believe that there is still work that needs to be done in order to level the playing field. According to the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, female athletes account for 40% of all sporting events, but only 4% of TV and news coverage of sports is about women. Additionally, professional male athletes are paid much more than women. For example, in 2015 the women’s national soccer players were paid a total of $15 million. In the same year, the men got $576 million. In 2019, the women’s team
    the US Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. They argued that women played more games than the men, and won more, but they were still paid much less.
  2. Professional female athletes face an uphill battle. But there are signs that they will prevail. In a 2019 survey, 73% of Americans said the women’s soccer team should be paid the same as the men. And in 2019, the World Surf League became the first professional sports league in the United States to pay men and women the same. As legendary tennis player Billie Jean King once said, “Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs. I want women to have the cake, the icing, and the cherry on top, too.”
  3. It may not be game, set, and match for gender equality in sports just yet; but Title IX has certainly been a champion of US women's sports participation. Bernice Sandler, now known as the Godmother of Title IX, would be proud to see how her contribution paved the way for female athletes around the world.

Practice questions

This question has two parts. Answer Part A, then Part B.

Part A

What’s the meaning of the phrase level the playing field, as it’s used in paragraph 4?
Choose 1 answer:

Part B

According to the information in the article, what could be done to level the playing field for women in US sports?
Choose 1 answer:
Psst! Don't forget to choose an answer for both questions :)