June 22, 2012
On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. A portion of the law, known as Title IX, stated: "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." To recognize of the 40th anniversary of this groundbreaking legislation, CalBears.com will offer a series of features on the impact of Title IX at Cal.
Part I: Chancellor Robert Birgeneau
Part II: Rowers Pat Spratlen Etem and Elisa Etem
Part III: Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour
Part IV: Water Polo's Peter Schnugg
Title IX means a lot of things to a lot of different people. In Part V of CalBears.com's series on the 40th anniversary of the landmark legislation, several current and former Golden Bear women student-athlete express their thoughts on the impact of sports in their lives.
Emily Kruger, Junior, Women's Soccer
"Obviously, as a female athlete I've benefitted immensely from this legislation. Not only am I able to receive a college scholarship for my athletic abilities, as male athletes always have, but more importantly I had the opportunities to play sports as a young girl. Girls around the age of five are encouraged just as much as boys to get involved in some form of sport, and without support for female athletics at the earliest stages, college scholarships would be irrelevant. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had growing up to play soccer, tennis and baseball with the boys. To think that there was a time when I would not have been allowed to do so is inconceivable, and for that I owe the women who pushed for the passage of Title IX back in 1972."
Frani Echavarria, Alumna, Softball
"I feel sports have helped me in many ways. It has helped me grow and shaped me into the person I am today. Sports are a part of my identity because it has helped me develop certain characteristics such as mental toughness, leadership, ambition, heart and competitiveness. If I never played sports, I don't know when I would be introduced to things of this nature, and then who would I be today? Sports have also taught me what it's like to be a part of a team and how to work with others. It also helped me build friendships with very special people. Sports give me strength, sports is my haven, and sports lets me express everything I am. I'm proud of who I am and where I am today. I am a Cal Bear! I feel girls should be given the opportunity to play all sports no matter what it is. Just like how male athletes see sports as a stepping stone or an outlet to help them to become successful in their sport and as people, female athletes have the same dream!"
Lauren Battung, Senior, Women's Soccer
"To me, Title IX is an opportunity and a blessing, but it is also common sense. It is a platform for empowerment through passion of our sports. Neither empowerment nor passion knows gender. Title IX allows us as people, not just as women, to embrace the lifestyle we choose to live, to pursue what we love and share it with others."
Kendra Bills, Senior, Field Hockey
"Whether I am female or male, I believe it is a privilege and an accomplishment to be a student-athlete on campus. All of the athletes have worked hard to perform at their sport and contribute to Cal Athletics. I do not believe the females should be treated any differently or looked at in a different way than the males. We are all athletes and we are all part of the same community. We represent the same school and work hard towards the same goals. Through being an athlete, one establishes pride toward this community and makes a meaningful impact on Cal Athletics and UC Berkeley as a whole."
Sara Isakovic, Alumna, Women's Swimming
"I play sports because it's the way I chose to live my life. Not only did I benefit by staying fit and healthy, but I've grown into a disciplined and hard-working individual. Sports have helped me become a leader as well as a team player. It showed to me that all dreams are possible to achieve, as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. Even though this way of life is tough and challenging, the lessons I've learned and the experiences I've had through my sport are priceless. I couldn't imagine a more thrilling, fulfilling and gratifying life than the one of an athlete."
Sarah Milik, Senior, Lacrosse
"Before I came to college, I did not realize what a huge deal Title IX is for female student-athletes. Title IX allows for thousands of female student-athletes to attend the colleges and universities of their dreams. Lacrosse is an integral part of who I am, and Title IX has allowed me to play my favorite sport at the University of California, Berkeley. As a student-athlete originally from New Jersey, I never thought that attending college 3,000 miles away would be in the cards for me. I never thought that I would get to play lacrosse in warm West Coast weather or enjoy seeing the San Francisco bridge from my campus every day. Title IX has given me the opportunity to participate in a sport that has enriched my life with wonderful people, places and experiences that I will never forget."
Heather Petri, Alumna, Women's Water Polo
"My experience at Cal gave me the foundation I needed to be able to improve enough to make it at an international level. Having never played on a youth or junior national team, the collegiate game was all I knew in the world of water polo. Maureen (O'Toole-Purcell, then Cal's head coach), having so much international experience, pushed us as hard as she would have pushed herself in her own training. Mo often got in the pool and trained with us my first years as a Bear. Cal already had a great program when I came to school in 1997. We consistently competed for the national title against teams filled with women on the National Team - some who Mo and I would have the privilege of being teammates with later. So, even while I thought I was just getting this great college sport experience, it was actually the first step on a path to the Olympics that I had never foreseen."
Melissa Humphrey, Senior, Lacrosse
"Title IX to me means hope for the future. The most powerful women in history fought so hard for our equality amongst men, and Title IX preserves their efforts. Because my opportunities as an athlete are ensured, I have more time to focus my energy on myself as an athlete, which will help women nationwide blur the line between male and female athletics. Because of Title IX, not only do my efforts matter, but they help me to make an impact on a local, regional and national level - something that would have gone unnoticed 40 short years ago. Because of Title IX, it now doesn't come down to whether I'm wearing a skirt or shorts when I play, but the name of the University on the front of my jersey."