Title IX 45 years later: What has changed?

The Last Word

Learn more about:

Lisa Attonito

Executive director
Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee | Milwaukee
Industry: Philanthropy
Location: Milwaukee

The Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee, which makes grants to advance equity for area women, celebrated the 45th anniversary of Title IX and its impact on women’s lives and careers at an event on Oct. 25. Lisa Attonito, executive director of the Women’s Fund, describes the transformation that has occurred.

Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

“The answer is simply: So much! This is especially true since, for Gen Xers and millennials, it is life’s known ‘normal.’ The 1996 Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta, were proof things changed. It was at those games that girls born in the early 1970s proved their skills as women athletes, winning gold in basketball, gymnastics, soccer, softball and synchronized swimming. Clearly, a new era for sports in America had arrived.

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“It didn’t happen by chance. It was a piece of legislation quietly signed into law on June 23, 1972 during a volatile time of war, government dishonesty and controversial school busing. Those 37 words changed the trajectory for millions of Americans, especially women and girls. It has become one of the most significant laws to advance equity for women in American history.

“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the breadth, depth and its evolution are often overlooked and unrecognized, and always vulnerable. Today, Title IX ensures equity in sports and also access to higher education and opportunities for STEM curriculum and careers. For many women, participation in sports was just the beginning, especially at the collegiate level, where earning scholarships to participate in athletics created the opportunity to pursue higher education. These opportunities continue to be the building blocks of personal achievement, building career and business success. Personal health, confidence, leadership skills, teamwork and trust are just a few of the ROIs.

“To leaders: Talk sports with women and hear what Title IX is doing for your business. You may be surprised and awed at the same time.”

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