Women have made great strides since Title IX banned sex discrimination in any educational program receiving federal funding. This piece of legislation signed by President Nixon in 1972 encouraged thousands of young women, once sidelined, to lace up their shoes, grab their gear and change history.
Today, your daughter doesn’t think about past limitations. She just focuses on her goal while playing on the field, track, court or pool. It seems Dick’s Sporting Goods, a national sporting gear retail chain forgot about it, too, and has been called to the mat by a young female athlete.
Twelve-year-old McKenna Peterson from Arizona wrote them a letter:
“I have received your Basketball 2014 catalog in the mail. . . There are NO girls in the catalog! . . . Girls buy stuff from your store. In fact, my last two pairs of basketball shoes were purchased at Dick’s, as well as my hoop and practice equipment. . . It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”
After McKenna’s letter went viral, Dick’s CEO, Ed Stacks sent a letter to McKenna hoping he will get an opportunity to apologize to her in person. He wrote:
“I’m sorry, we clearly messed up and I can personally guarantee that next year’s catalog will prominently feature female athletes, as it should have this year. . . As a dad and former coach, I understand firsthand the importance of youth sports for all kids. I have a trip planned to visit our stores in Arizona in the next few weeks. If you and your parents are open to it, I would welcome the opportunity to meet you and apologize in person.”
Since Title IX was enacted, the number of women playing collegiate sports has ballooned from under 300,000 in 1972 to over 3.2 million, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
On another historical note, during the London 2012 Olympics, Team USA boasted more female athletes (269 athletes) than males (261 athletes) with more female athletes bringing home medals.