Before 1972, girls and women who played sports had little expectation of gender equity. Most weren’t allowed to cross the half-court line in basketball. They made their own clothes and ran in makeshift shoes. They fought their administrations for access to equipment, transportation and locker rooms. Now, 50 years after the passing of Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any educational institution receiving federal funding, women athletes have more opportunity than ever.
ESPN spoke with women athletes across generations from seven families about their NCAA experiences and beyond. They discussed how conditions have changed in their lifetimes and how wide the gap remains between men’s and women’s athletic programs.