By Adrienne Adams
When the U. S. Women’s Soccer Team was honored recently at City Hall it struck a feeling of patriotism for many but also pride for the young women and children of our country.
For me, it was an opportunity to pause and reflect on how far women have come in my lifetime. The exponential growth of opportunities for women over the past few decades, especially in sports, is profound. However, there are still many challenges ahead.
The new World Cup champions deserve every ounce of praise showered upon them but we cannot forget that their success would not be possible without Title IX. This federal law mandates equity and was intended to prohibit gender discrimination in educational programs and all aspects of school operations.
Almost 50 years after Title IX became law, a generation of women have garnered the benefits of the educational support and professional development that the law provides.
As a result, many young women have gone on to successful careers.
The success story of women’s sports under Title IX shows how marginalized groups can be given opportunities through policy interventions. We truly see how individual talent can be fostered when they have support.
Title IX’s tremendous influence on women’s athletics cannot be overemphasized, but it is astonishing that in the year 2019 we are still pushing for proper enforcement. We cannot forget that in New York City there was only one Title IX coordinator representing 1.1 million students. Due to the advocacy of the City Council, increased funding was included in the fiscal 2020 budget to hire more. This role is critical to the well-being and equity for young women.
Though we can celebrate some of the successes of Title IX it is clear that inequities still remain. It was hard to miss the resounding chants of equal pay at the celebratory parade of champions.
The U.S. Women's Soccer Team faces widely-publicized hurdles with pay equity, despite outperforming their male counterparts in every way and being the number one team in the world. Like women in most professions, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is paid less to do the same work as their male counterparts however we know that this is not an issue unique to sports. Women across the country are paid less than men in most professions.
As a country we cannot continue to normalize disparate treatment for women. Let us all be inspired by the passionate fight of the U. S. Women’s Soccer Team for equal pay. It is a call for change and will have a powerful impact on the culture that permitted the inequity.
We must continue to call out these unfair arrangements when we see them.
Building on the momentum of Title IX let us continue to invest in women’s potential and strengths to truly give women an equitable chance. Women have made tremendous strides in the past few decades and it is important that we continue on this trajectory.
Councilmember Adrienne Adams represents District 28.