Billie Jean King: 50 Years After Title IX, Gender Equality Battle Continues

Billie Jean King: 50 Years After Title IX, Gender Equality Battle Continues

Billie Jean King: 50 Years After Title IX, Gender Equality Battle Continues

This summer we celebrate 50 years of Title IX – a game-changer for women and girls in sports. Before this crucial federal protection, girls made up just 7% of high school athletes. Because there were virtually no athletic scholarships available to women, female college athletes stuck together uniforms. And they faced blatant discrimination, on and off the field. Indeed, 60 years ago, a young girl playing her first tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club was forced to step out of a group photo – because she was wearing shorts, not a skirt.

When she arrived at college, she noticed that many male athletes received athletic scholarships, but there was no financial aid for female tennis players. Nationally, female athletes received 2% of the university’s athletic budget.

To make ends meet, she held two jobs—one as a primary school principal and another distributing equipment in the locker room—despite being one of the best tennis players in the country.

Even when she won the US Open, she was still paid less than the male champion — along with eight other female tennis players to sign a $1 contract in protest.