Author TIM BOOTH, AP sports writer
SEATTLE (AP) – Ginny Gilder was not well acquainted with the meaning of Title IX until she was a freshman at Yale, competed for the rowing team and participated in one of the most famous protests regarding the law.
The co-owner of WNBA’s Seattle Storm was right in the middle of “Yale Strip-In” in 1976, protesting against inequality in the treatment of rowers and rowers at school.
“What happened to me personally, I always say … the experience radicalized me,” Gilder said. “Because I grew up in New York, the Upper East Side. I was from Park Avenue, a girl from a private school. I mean, if you want to talk about privilege, that would be me. This is the first time I have experienced discrimination. “
As Title IX celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Gilder is one of countless women who have benefited from enforcing and enforcing the law and turning these opportunities into leaders in her professional career.
Participation in this demonstration triggered a ride in Gilder. This helped her become an Olympic silver medalist in rowing at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. It helped her build a successful business career as an investor and philanthropist. This also helped Gilder accept her sexuality in the late 1990s.
He is now part of the ownership group that bought Storm in 2008 and maintained a stable franchise in his hometown.
“I think a lot of what I’ve learned in the business world is that you have to go for what you want, and not for what you want, as in a personal way, but according to what your vision is for the world and the changes you want to make, ”Gilder said.“ And it was certainly an experience I learned when I became an athlete.
“But it was really an experience I learned from this protest,” Gilder added. “That you have to press if you’re not happy, you’re not happy with how it is. You have to come out and roll up your sleeves.”
Gail Koziara Boudreaux also used her competitive momentum to succeed off the basketball court.
A career leader in results and jumps at Dartmouth, he has been President and CEO of Anthem, Inc. since 2017.
Boudreaux, a three-time Ivy League player of the year and four-time Ivy League shot put champion, said there have not been many CEOs in the past – and of those who have, she said there have been quite a few former athletes. .
“If you look at many of us, we have sporting experience at different levels,” Boudreaux said. “And I think it affects our competitiveness and our fearlessness to take on challenges and not be afraid to step, you know, step and play the game.”
Thanks to Title IX, which provides more opportunities for women through increased participation at all levels – from youth sport to college, Boudreaux believes the number of female CEOs will inevitably increase and level the playing field. This is one of the reasons why Boudreaux, along with investing in her company, has donated the position of coach to her alma mater.
“I think it’s important for us to give back things that helped us pay for it in advance, and that we’re an important, socially responsible company in the community,” Boudreaux said.
Jacqie McWilliams knows first hand which doors can open when someone is offered a chance.
She is the first black commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. McWilliams has also been on the NCAA Gender Equality Working Group since 2016. Prior to that, she led the NCAA Championships for nine years.
McWilliams was the Hampton Conference Player of the Year in both basketball and volleyball. She sees a responsibility to give back to the pipeline who gave her so much.
“As Commissioner,” McWilliams said, “I have access to a lot of things, a platform in a position of power that I think is quite humiliating, that I have a space where I can bring others forward that I can defend in spaces where some they may never come, even as a black woman. “
McWilliams and others have fought many battles along the way and understand that much remains to be done. The struggle for this equality has taken various forms over the last 50 years.
McWilliams cited social media posts that drew attention to equity issues at NCAA 2021 tournaments.
“I don’t think there’s a time now when we couldn’t invest anymore … in the same way we did in the past,” McWilliams said.
For Gilder, this meant she invested her passion in making the WNBA a successful company, both with the team that co-owns it and throughout the league. She is also an advocate for growth and change in her league.
“There is a lot of recognition that the WNBA and certainly Storm offer genuine expression for every person or company that cares about diversity, equity (and) inclusion,” Gilder said. “Without Title IX, we wouldn’t exist as a league. It is credible for us to be committed to social change.
“It’s not something we do in our spare time,” she added. “It is us, and the culture has moved a bit to support it and recognize how important it is.”
But Gilder notes that bias still prevails in society. She said that while it is not as obvious as it once was before the law came into force, it is such that justice must continue to be pursued.
“You have to normalize how people think about things and that’s one thing after another,” Gilder said. “But you do it enough one after the other, it becomes a wave. It’s like any change. And at some point, things just start to turn around and what seemed like a radical idea is accepted as the status quo. “
AP sports writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report
For more on the impact of Title IX, check out the full AP package: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix Video Timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdgNI6BZpw0
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