THE BLOG
01/29/2016 06:32 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2017

Title IX She-roes

The Super Bowl in 2016 is fascinating to me -- teams from the two areas in which I have spent my entire adult life and career: Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. As I now live in Colorado, the buildup to the Super Bowl will be on the front page of the paper every day -- causing me to think about sports and opportunities for women in sports. Those opportunities did not exist for me when I was coming through school, but they do now. Much of that credit goes to the enactment of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In this column, we'll learn about some of the women whose efforts led to enactment of Title IX and some whose lack of opportunities led to their support of Title IX and subsequent developments. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

____ 1. Credited as the "Mother of Title IX", the Title was renamed in her honor after her death.
____ 2. An Olympic gold medalist in 1964 who could not attend college on an athletic scholarship as no such scholarships were available for female athletes.
____ 3. U.S. Congresswoman who worked many years for the passage of education legislation who had to drop out of college due to financial hardship.
____ 4. The "Godmother of Title IX", she served as an advocate for women's rights for fifty years.

A. Edith Green
B. Patsy Mink
C. Bernice Sandler
D. Donna de Varona

Motivated by the financial hardships that had caused her to withdraw from college, Congresswoman Edith Starrett Green advocated for education throughout her twenty years in the U.S. Congress. Representing Oregon, Green was called "Mrs. Education" and the "Mother of High Education." She served on the Committee on Education and Labor for 18 years. Green's record in Congress demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the rights of women. She is credited as a driving force behind the enactment of Title IX. After she presided over seven days of hearings during which many witnesses described barriers facing women in higher education, Green said "Let us not deceive ourselves. Our educational institutions have proven to be no bastions of democracy."

Credited as the "Mother of Title IX" Patsy Mink, the first woman of color to serve in the U.S. Congress, played high school basketball only on a half court, as at the time full-court basketball was deemed too physically demanding for girls (I, too, was only allowed to play half court basketball in school). Elected from the State of Hawaii, Mink wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but was rejected by all medical schools to which she applied. Opting instead for law school, she was denied a job at a law firm because she was a married woman and couldn't start a law practice because she had married a man not from Hawaii and thus she was considered a non-resident. After fighting for the right to take -- and then passing -- the bar exam, she became the first Japanese-American woman to pass the bar in Hawaii. During her terms in Congress, Mink pursued legislative reform in education and health care. After her death, the U.S. House of Representatives renamed Title IX the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

The "Godmother of Title IX" Bernice Sandler has been an advocate for women's rights for over fifty years. Denied a position after receiving her Ph.D. because "she came on too strong for a woman", Sandler partnered with Representative Edith Green in gathering the evidence through hearings and other mechanisms documenting the discrimination that women faced in employment and education. These efforts led to the passage of Title IX and her nickname as its Godmother. Dr. Sandler's holds many firsts in the fight for gender equity. She has been inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame.

In 1960, at thirteen years old, swimmer Donna De Varona competed in her first Olympics. Four years later, she won two gold medals. In spite of her swimming prowess, de Varona was unable to go to college on scholarship as no scholarships existed for female athletes. She thus became a strong advocate for Title IX. The first female television sportscaster, de Varona is one of the founders of the Women's Sports Foundation and served as its first President. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women.
Many of these proponents of Title IX are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We salute their accomplishments and benefit from their persistence.

(Answers 1-B, 2-D, 3-A, 4-C )