When Title IX was passed 50 years ago, there wasn’t a single mention of “sports” or “athletics” anywhere in the bill. The focus was on prohibiting sex-based discrimination and leveling the playing field for girls and women in education, but it didn’t take long for those protections to literally be taken to the field.
Without Title IX, it’s difficult to imagine that women’s sports would be what they are today. From the youth level to college to professional, the success of girl and women athletes today can all be directly tied to a law passed in 1972. Though there is still progress to be made, here are the moments that have defined the growth of women’s sports.