Men Coaching WomenDecember 09, 2008
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the AAUW Arlington (VA) Branch’s Legal Advocacy Fund Holiday Luncheon. Not only did I have a great time meeting AAUW members I primarily communicate with by e-mail and phone, but along with everyone in attendance, I had the opportunity to learn about the continuing need for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics from speaker Kristen Galles of Equity Legal. She is an AAUW member and represents the plaintiffs in one of the LAF-supported sex discrimination cases, Mansourian, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al., a Title IX case centered on alleged discrimination experienced by female members of the university’s wrestling team.
In her talk, Kristen presented a brief history of Title IX and discussed the continued relevancy of Title IX in college athletics. Title IX has made an enormous positive difference in women’s sports: two years before the enactment of Title IX in 1970, there were only 2.5 women’s teams per school, but as of 2006, there are 8.45 teams per school. However, unsurprisingly, there are still more men’s sports teams than women’s at institutions nationwide.
I was surprised to learn about the low percentage of female coaches. In the 1970s, over 90 percent of the women’s teams were coached by women, but now just over 40 percent of women’s teams are headed by female coaches (and only 17.7 percent of women’s and men’s teams combined). In 1972, more than 90 percent of women’s programs were administrated by a female athletic director, but today only 18.6 percent of athletic directors of women’s programs are women. This strikes me as ironic, since there must be a large pool of qualified former women college athletes to choose from, thanks to Title IX.
I ran cross country at college, and the coaches of the women’s and men’s teams were men. The women’s coach was new, and now I wonder if my university even tried to find a woman to coach the team.
While some of the statistics Kristen shared were disappointing, I think all of us at the luncheon were glad to see that there are smart, passionate lawyers like her fighting to break down barriers on campus for both female students and coaches. What do you think we can do to help get more women’s sports teams and coaches at colleges and universities?