Rebuking myths of Title IX PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Friday, 19 June 2009 10:44
Probably the most misunderstood piece of legislation ever enacted is Title IX.
Passed in 1972, the law requires gender equity for males and females in every educational program that receives federal funding. It applies not only to sports, but to other areas including access to higher education, career education and sexual harassment. It's been the subject of over 20 proposed amendments, reviews, Supreme Court cases and other political actions.
Now through the efforts of Dr. Janet Parks and WBGU-PBS, the many myths and misconceptions of Title IX are being rebuked.
Parks, a distinguished professor emerita in the School of Human Movement, Sport & Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University, said the project was four years in the making. The end result is a three-disc DVD - Title IX: Implications for Women in Sport and Education - produced by WBGU.
"People have been waiting for this story to be told for a long time," said Pat Fitzgerald, the general manager of WBGU. "This is some great work that has been done."
"It's not just about sports, but about society."
A short presentation of the DVD, including remarks by Parks, was held Thursday evening at WBGU.
"People simply do not understand Title IX," Parks said. "It's been misrepresented, I'm sorry to say, in the press and by athletics administrators ... It was really about education, it had nothing to do with sports.
"The people in this tape set the record straight," she added. "I'm just so optimistic that this is going to make a difference in people's understanding. It's explained in such a non-confrontational, level-headed way. And today's students are going to find out what it was like before Title IX."
One of the biggest misconceptions about Title IX is that it forced men's sports to be eliminated at the expense of adding women's sports.
"There is nothing in Title IX that requires anybody to cut men's sports," Parks said. "It's how administrators decide to spend their money.
"In this DVD Dr. (Carol) Cartwright, the president of our university, explains very clearly that usually when people cut men's sports to save money, it is so they can put that money into other men's sports not so they can put that money in women's sports," Parks continued. "What we really hate is that this misconception has created a gender war and gender conflict that we didn't need to have."
The idea to make the DVD started in 2005 when BGSU held a conference on women's athletics in conjunction with the athletics department honoring pre-Title IX athletes.
Interviews were taped by WBGU at the conference and later additional interviews were conducted to fill in gaps that existed in the information for the DVD, which is "an academic piece, not a puff piece," Parks said. "We wanted to bring together those who made the history ... The women and men who were in this struggle."
The DVD is divided into 14 chapters, so it can be used in the classroom and help students understand Title IX and women's sports experiences.
Chapters include, The Multiple Meanings of Sports for Girls and Women; Intended Consequences of Title IX; Unintended Consequences of Title IX; and Fulfilling the Promise of Title IX. Study questions are included at the end of each chapter. A complete breakdown of the chapters is available at www.wbgu.org/titleIX.
"It's like 14 mini-documentaries," Parks said. "I really believe the content on this DVD will make a difference."
Parks said there are eight pages of credits on the DVD from all the help she received.
Marcus Harrison, a producer and director at WBGU, played a major role into putting together the final product.
"You don't think about or notice, as a male, some of the inequalities that exist in sports and education ... in the past and still exist today," Harrison said. "Working on this project definitely opened up my eyes to so many things.
"I'm just so glad to be a part of something that's going to effect so many people," he added.
Fitzgerald said there is no schedule to broadcast the DVD set, but that a plan was being worked on and the work could be aired in the future.
The DVD set is available for purchase at WBGU.
 

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