This past week marked the 30th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court; a ruling that the former President George Bush wanted overturned during his time in office. It should come as no surprise then to find out that the current Bush administration is equally anti-women’s rights. I’m not referring to the anti-abortion agenda that our “compassionate conservative” president supports, but rather the proposed changes to Title IX that are being considered during his administration.
For those who may not know what Title IX is, it was a law passed in 1972 that “prohibits schools receiving federal funding from discriminating in all educational programs, including athletics, on basis of gender” (www.Washingtonpost.com, Friday, Jan.24; p. A01). According to an article by Washington Post staff writer Michael Fletcher, however, the proposed change to Title IX amongst two dozen such proposals being studied by “a national commission studying reform of Title IX” would allow schools to “devote as little as 43 percent of their athletic scholarships to women and still comply with the law – even though women comprise 55 percent of the enrollment in the nation’s four-year colleges.” Even if one were to ignore the studies that show participation in athletics helps women’s self-esteem and health, or the fact that the number of women enrolling in colleges is on the rise, as the Bush administration is apparently doing, altering Title IX would still be a bad idea.
While there are probably some female athletes whose first focus is athletics, just as there are male athletes who focus on it just as heavily, if not more so, athletic scholarships are sometimes the only way to get money for college. Saying that schools can unequally distribute this money solely on the basis of gender and still work within the law is a violation of the law in and of itself.
Some would argue that because of the enforcement of Title IX, some positions on teams or men’s sports in general have suffered in order to guarantee equal access and opportunities for women’s sports. I, however, would like to suggest an alternate possible reason for lagging interest in men’s sports. The world is changing, as we move into the information age and beyond, more emphasis is being placed on academics and our ability to understand more complex technology. As a result, schools have to spend more money on technology so we’ll be prepared for the real world after graduation. As a result of this, there’s less money in general for expenditures for both men and women’s athletics programs. Added to the fact the economy is doing poorly across the nation, and we can see how that further affects what a school can and cannot spend on sports.
Equality is not the cause of budget issues so much as a lack of interest in certain sports may be the reason for their elimination. And personally, though I do understand that there are unequal fan bases, I feel that both men’s and women’s sports are both important. I know there are some guys out there who may disagree with me; who may in fact think women’s sports don’t deserve as much money as men’s sports do, and they are entitled to that opinion. However, to those who feel that way, remember: most of the nation’s poor are women with dependent children, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes roughly 70 cents for the same work. I could go on and on, but the fact remains that this is still very much a male-dominated society. Therefore, there is no need to feel threatened by women’s sports…the ball has been in our court throughout history, but now it’s time to pass it to someone else instead of playing keep-away.
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