DALLAS — Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the Title IX – the law best known for its role in gender equity in athletics and preventing sexual harassment on college campuses.
WNBA legends, and the Dallas Wings’ head coach and current league players, shared the importance of its impact in the sports world ahead of the team’s matchup against the Indiana Fever Thursday.
Title IX reads:
“No person in the United shall, on the bases of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Just 37 words, which covers several areas in education and in terms of athletics, helped launched the careers of women in professional sports.
With Title IX in place, women's and men's teams are to be treated equally, and schools should look for way to expand opportunities for women to play sports. Yet, there's still a ways to go in how we watch women's sports, equal pay and expanding opportunities for women throughout the sports world.
Dallas Wings Head Coach Vickie Johnson said, “I think it helps in a way where we all have the same opportunity to be great and to be recognized as professional athletes and athletes period. I think Title IX is a huge thing for women’s sports. The present, and the future.”
In a video posted on the team’s Instagram page, Wings Forward Satou Sabally said in part, although “we have a long way to go” in terms of equality for women, Title IX has helped in her journey from college to the professional level.
“If women win, men win. And if we all win, it’s just a better place,” Sabally said in the video.
WNBA greats also took to Twitter to share the impact of Title IX and to drive home the need for more representation, equal pay and job opportunities for women at both the collegiate and pro levels.
Basketball hall of famer Nancy Lieberman was the first pick in the Women’s Pro Basketball League (WBL) by the Dallas Diamonds, helping the team reach the 1981 WBL finals, and eventually helping the team win a championship in 1984 when the Women’s American Basketball Association was created. In the WNBA’s inaugural year in 1997, Lieberman played for the Phoenix Mercury.
On Twitter, Lieberman shared her a small portion of her interview with Sports EQuaLity in honor of Title IX. She shared how the push for women's sports is growing, quoting from the movie 'Field of Dreams' -- "If you build it, they will come."
Rebecca Lobo and Sheryl Swoopes participated in a conversation with SiriusXM NBA Radio recalling the say 'women's basketball changed forever'.
Dawn Staley, former WNBA player, Olympian and current head coach for South Carolina Gamecocks, and former WNBA player, Olympian Lisa Leslie sat down together to have a conversation on Title IX with CBS Sports. Staley spoke on her fight for equal pay.
Despite the strides of Title IX and the dreams that have come to fruition, there's still a need to move the needle forward in women's sports.