Hello Forest County Residents!
March is National Women’s History Month so I will be exploring issues and stories tied to local women’s fight for equality. I chose to focus on girls’ high school sports because of the local high schools finishing up their basketball seasons. I am very proud of all the lady athletes in the county, they are a wonderful representation of talent and hard work. Currently it is a matter of choice if a young woman would like to participate in a sport. But I am sure many community members can remember when girls were barred from high school athletics. Not until the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 were girls included in organized sports. The law states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis 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” (www.gilderlehrman.org).
In the early 20th century girls would play sports in gym class but there was no organized competition. Women were not encouraged to keep score because being competitive was thought to be too masculine. Girls were told that they would not be able to have children or no one would want to marry them if they engaged in sports. As time passed schools did allow young women to play sports but they would make them raise money for their own uniforms and they were never featured in the yearbooks (http://www.gilderlehrman.org). Girls sports were not represented in the Crandon High School yearbook until a year after the passage of Title IX in 1973. The girls’ teams were all placed on one page with no mention of their season or their place in the conference. The boys teams each received two or more pages for every sport. I applaud the local women that participated in the first year of organized sports. You must have dealt with discrimination and under representation. I encourage all former female athletes to share their stories, we are grateful for your perseverance!