The All American Girls Professional Baseball League was created during World War II to bring the entertainment of baseball to the country while the men of baseball fought in the war. It was the first time in US history that women played professional sports and started to open some minds to women playing sports.It is because of the AAGPBL that softball player Jennie Finch had an incredible college and Olympic softball career and now serves as an ambassador for women and girls in sports.
WilmaRudloph was born in the racially divided south in 1940. She suffered from scarlet fever and polio as a child that limited her ability to be physically active and caused her to have to wear a brace on one of her legs but with determination she fought racial prejudice and overcame disability to win Olympic medals in the 1960 Olympics. She was a pioneer for women’s athletics.Because of Wilma’s courage, women like Aimee Mullins, a double amputee, can compete in the paralympics and win gold medals as well as set world records
Babe Didricksen was a all-around athlete. She exceled in basketball, track and field, and most notably golf. She broke down the barriers of sports in a time where women were not expected to be athletic. She competed in the olympics, won championships, and challenged the status quo of sports.Because of Babe, Angela Oh, a young Korean-American golfer from Baltimore, MD is an up and coming member of the LPGA circuit.
Lots of people know about James Naismith’s “invention” of basketball but Women’s basketball was pioneered at Mrs. Rosenbaum’s alma mater of Smith College. Senda Berenson brought the game to the women’s college in 1892. Because of these women, people like Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie rock the courts for the LA Sparks in the WNBA and have won Olympic medals for basketball.
Billie Jean King is an icon in tennis. She is the winner of 129 career titles including 12 grand slam singles titles. But even more than that, she fought for equal pay and access for women in tennis most notably competing in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match in 1973 vs. Bobby Riggs. She won this match, proving the need for equality on the court.It is because of BJK that women like Venus and Serena Williams can dominate on the court. The fighting of discrimination by women who came before them has paved the way for their success.
In 1967 a woman signed up for the Boston Marathon using only the name K Switzer. Women were not allowed to participate in this event. As she traversed the 26.2 mile course, race officials attempted to push her off the course and fellow participants scorned her but some did not and protected her to allow her to cross the finish line. She was the first American woman to finish a marathon distance race.In 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics, a group of women toed the starting line at the inaugural women’s marathon an event that before this time people believed would cause women irreparable harm to their bodies. A young woman named Joan Benoit set off at the start and ran a smart race where she would lead and win the first Olympic Gold. Mrs. Benoit, now Benoit Samuelson, has qualified for every Olympic Marathon trials in the US since that time and competed most recently in the trials at age 50.These women, Kathrine and Joanie, paved the way for women like Kara Goucher to compete in the marathon at elite levels. Kara will represent the US in the London Olympics this summer.
Title Nine, the name of the bill passed in 1972, 40 years ago that guarantees equal access and funding in sports, among other things, for women and girls. This means that there was no more girls gym, but rather even time divided between the big gym and the little gym. Girls had the access to play Varsity sports with equitable funding and shared time the best resources. Women’s professional teams such as Major League Soccer and the WNBA have created professional sports teams for women.
YOU are able to play. And because you are able to play you will be less likely to make unhealthy choices and more likely graduate college. And for that we thank the pioneers of sport in our lives and take the courts, fields, lanes, and links so we can play sports.
Women's history month title ix
If you let me play sports… Women’s History Month
Before 1972 Girls could not….• Play JV or Varsity Sports• Use the large gymnasiums or fields• Play a variety of sports• Play professional sports