On the 42nd Anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 education amendment ensuring equal access for both men and women in federally funded education programs including sports, I would be remiss to let today go by without acknowledging the historic amendment and its significance on women in sports.
For instance, take yesterday’s celebrated finish at the2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
American golfers, Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis, finished one-two (the last time this occurred was in 2003). Wie’s U.S. Women’s Open win marks her first long-awaited major championship. She turned pro in 2005 before enrolling at Stanford University, but if circumstances were different, we might have seen Wie compete collegiately. Lewis – currently ranked as the world’s number one golfer – competed and trained at the University of Arkansas. In 2007, she won a coveted NCAA individual title. Stephanie Meadow – the third place finisher – helped the University of Alabama claim the 2012 women’s golf title.
These women are following in the footsteps of legendary golfer – Annika Sorenstam – who won three U.S. Women’s Open titles and competed at the University of Arizona where she was an All-American and National Player of the Year.
While there are many roads to the U.S. Women’s Open, one of them undoubtedly is through Title IX.
These 37 words altered the landscape of women’s sports and opened doors that many thought would be locked forever: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
What is next for Title IX recipients?
Transitioning from a career in sport is often overwhelming for elite athletes. When you are used to having a coach and receiving direction, designing your future requires a well thought-out “game plan.” Perhaps identifying a mentor is the next step – someone who is authentically committed to helping you succeed and use your unique athletic skill set to make a positive impact in the world.
If you are a former athlete or you happen to know someone who is searching for “life after Title IX,” consider applying for EY’s Women Athletes Business Network Global Mentoring Program.
From now until August 1, EY – in partnership with the International Women’s Forum (IWF) – is accepting applications. In its inaugural year, 25 “elite athletes” – defined as having currently or previously competed professionally or semi-professional or at the national or international level – will be selected.
“Female athletes have leadership skills that can’t be taught in the classroom. Our research shows that 96% of top female executives played sport, with more than half competing at the university level,” said Beth Brooke-Marciniak, EY’s Global Vice Chair, Public Policy.
“The world needs more women leaders and we believe that elite female athletes are a unique talent pipeline. This new mentoring program is focused on building a bridge between women in the business world and women in sport to help open doors and create new career and leadership opportunities for these extraordinary individuals.”
The selected athlete mentees will gain access to IWF’s membership of 6,000 senior women executives in 33 nations and six continents. Further, the mentors include women who are leaders in their respective fields and are willing to share their insights lessons and leadership expertise with the former athletes.
Life after Title IX does not have to be lonely. It can include a team of women leaders from around the world supporting elite women athletes as they move forward in their leadership journeys.
For more information about EY and the global mentoring program, click here.