Nothing like a 6am butt-kicking on a Saturday morning to celebrate being a fit, empowered and capable woman in Chicago! This weekend I joined my very good friend and creator of Urban Fit Clubs, Charity Gonzalez, for an inspiring and fueled morning to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX hosted by Nike Chicago and the ‘Make the Rules’ campaign.
The morning included a series of work-outs at the Nike Fuel House in Lincoln Park hosted by Nike and former gold-medalist, Shawn Johnson. We had the opportunity to test Nike’s latest training technology, Nike FuelBand, a shoe and app combo that tracks your performance and allows you to compete with friends. The highlight of the event was the powerful #maketherules video highlighting the impact of Title IX and the opportunities and successes women have had playing collegiate and professional sports. Check out the video below.
Title IX refresher: forty years ago, Title IX, part of the Education Amendments of 1972 was adopted and states: “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… In essence, Title IX opened the doors for women to play sports in federally-funded schools and receive the same opportunities that men do. In 1971, 290,000 girls competed in high school sports. Today, 3.2 million do.
As a thirty-something woman that has played sports her entire life, it’s hard to imagine a world where participating in sports was looked down on or wasn’t an option for women. I’m an early product of Title IX. My middle school and high school’s women’s teams were limited at best as our school and community rallied around the men’s teams. As I got older, and played in rec leagues I met more women who had also found an outlet through sports after leaving school that weren’t able to fully embrace organized sports as young women growing up in the 80s.
We’ve made huge strides but we still have work to do in gender discrimination and equality among athletes and women in general. As a mother of twin daughters, I’m already giddy about the options my girls have to be athletes and their ability to harness their passions, learn valuable life lessons, and excel athletically through sports. The benefits of playing sports for women are endless – the physical benefits, the confidence it builds, the concept of teamwork, the ability to compete and win - it’s hard to imagine why women wouldn’t be encouraged to get active and participate.
As women, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers…we need to encourage our young girls to be athletes and to embrace sports from a young age. Just how young to start is where I’m having issues – at 13 months, my girls are still a little small to pick up a golf club or a bat, but they are already watching sports with mommy – and that’s a good start.
Follow at #maketherules