Before Title IX: How Women’s Sports Teams Got Started
In 1992, the International Shooting Union decided that that year’s Olympics would be the last with women competing against men in skeet shooting. Then Zhang Shang of China won the gold medal in this event, beating the male competitors and raising hopes that the sport’s organizers would change their minds. But in 2000, when women were again allowed to compete in the Olympic event, the competition was separated by gender.
Many of these stories have been largely forgotten, suggesting there are others that have gone untold, Prof Bekker said.
“These untold stories are enlightening,” she said. “I think these hidden stories, and what they might teach us, are worth telling.”
Is it time to mix more?
Since the adoption of Title IX, women have been competitive with men at the elite level in areas such as rock climbing, surfing, and endurance sports, such as ultra running and cycling.
Their accomplishments have led some to wonder: Should we start incorporating more professional sports?
Chad Carlson, associate professor of kinesiology at Hope College, said administrators should at least consider where women appear to have equal or even greater advantages, such as endurance sports, or those like fencing and shooting. , where specific skills are favored over strength and speed.
“Why wouldn’t we? ” he said. “If greater opportunity to participate has led to better performance, why aren’t we allowing women to participate with men to further explore performance caps?”
Professor Cahn said the question posed a conundrum for sports that emphasize speed and strength.
“If we had a professional basketball league, there would probably be very few women who could make those teams,” she said. “To create the most opportunities for women to perform and excel, you would always want to have separate competitions.”