For the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is celebrating the seismic impact the groundbreaking legislation has had on women’s sports.
Winning on and off the court
“Gender equality helps mitigate conscious and unconscious bias against women,” says Lisa Borders, president of the WNBA. “It means every person has the same opportunity.”
That opportunity translates into success in sports as well as life, says Borders, citing research that says roughly 85 percent of women in the C-suite today played organized sports.
“There are so many things you learn in sports that are beyond the traditional classroom, like leadership, perseverance and teamwork,” she explains. “It enriches your experiential education, and that’s what men have had their entire lives. Title IX gave women that same opportunity.”
To current and future generations
While today’s players don’t know a world without Title IX, they appreciate the path it enabled their predecessors to pave for them.
Maya Moore, of the Minnesota Lynx, appreciates women like Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson for inspiring up-and-coming ballers. “Because of them, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my skills, and that’s opened doors for me with my education and my career,” she says.
Breanna Stewart, of the Seattle Storm, admires Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Rebecca Lobo for what they’ve brought to women’s sports, and works to continue their efforts by showing girls their dreams are attainable. “I want girls to say, ‘look at all the top female athletes now — that’s what I want to be,’” she says.
Kelsey Plum, of the San Antonio Stars, says it’s important for girls to receive recognition in basketball today to help them further their role in the game and in life. “Women have a voice and we’re powerful,” she says. “It starts with me and the younger generation pushing for even more opportunities and power.”
Supporting the phenomenal WNBA athletes and all females in sport — by following them and attending games — will continue to narrow the gap in gender equity.
Paula Andruss, [email protected]