Title IX Celebration
June 21, 2012
We're doing this in celebration and recognition of Title IX and its 40th anniversary. It is an incredible day that we are celebrating here in our country because it really shows how far our country has come as a nation that's always striving to become a more perfect union.
I'm delighted that the younger women in this room don't know a pre-Title IX world, because it was very different and it really did restrict the opportunity of way too many women and girls. I'm proud to now lead the department that actually, was the initial host of this wonderful change.
To see three million young girls playing high school sports now, 10 times as much, six times as many young women playing at the collegiate level. It's just absolutely staggering the progress we've made. Thanks so much for coming out and let's have some fun. Let's play ball.
I played basketball in high school and some in college and I remember in high school there was only a boys' team. Now there are women's teams everywhere, including professional teams and it's very much a part of an exciting journey that is America.
Well Title IX obviously has afforded me a lot of opportunities to go to school, to get to play sports. I grew up with two older brothers, playing sports all the time, and so for people in my generation, for girls in my generation, the idea of playing sports is just something that's natural and Title IX's helped create a lot of that.
We are here to celebrate the successes of this magnificent law, but the data and what we're seeing in the field and the inequities that are still too pervasive tell us we have a long way to go. Some progress is not enough.
I look at the younger kids and look at their futures, it's just so bright for them and the opportunities that they're going to have. So, it's definitely a special feeling. We're out there, you know, just having a good time but it's getting a little competitive also. [laughs]
It's pretty surreal to be out here with all these folks. It looks like all the secretaries are playing harder than anyone out there.
It was fun, first of all, and it just underscored on a generational level how much impact Title IX has had. We had young kids like my eight-year old niece who's out there, and in her mind there never was a day when there wasn't Title IX.
It's something she's always aspired. I was eight years old same age she is, when Title IX was enacted in 1972. So, for me, it was an important fixture in my growing up, but it was still something relatively new.
Our country needs our best and our brightest, and when girls have the opportunity to play sports, when women have equal access to educational opportunities, to STEM opportunities, it means we exponentially increase the country's brainpower.
We're looking forward to the next 40 years where we do it not only in athletics, but we do it in math, science, and education, and engineering. We let little girls and little boys everywhere realize everything they could possibly hope to do.
So, it's great to come out, have some fun. Lots of different generations here playing and that wasn't always the case, and so this is a happy birthday party.