]Women's opportunities for competitive physical activity were limited in America until Federal Legislation, commonly referred to as Title IX, became law. It required American society to recognize a woman's right to participate in sports on a plane equal to that of men. Prior to 1870, activities for women were recreational rather than sport-specific in nature. They were noncompetitive, informal rule-less, they emphasized physical activity rather than competition. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, women began to form clubs that were athletic in nature. Efforts to limit women's sport activity continued as they became more involved in competitive sports.... Continue reading from The Sport Journal
On June 23, 1972, Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 is enacted into law. Title IX prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on sex. It begins, "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." As a result of Title IX, any school that receives any federal money from the elementary to university level--in short, nearly all schools--must provide fair and equal treatment of the sexes in all areas, including athletics.
Before Title IX, few opportunities existed for female athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which was created in 1906 to format and enforce rules in men's football but had become the ruling body of college athletics, offered no athletic scholarships from women and held no championships for women's teams. Furthermore, facilities, supplies and funding were lacking. As a result, in 1972 there were just 30,000 women participating in NCAA sports, as opposed to 170,000 men. Continue reading from History