Recognizing the 50th anniversary of Title IX and its impact


Photo courtesy of the NCAA

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Title IX is a bill that passed in the United States in 1972 that stated women would be allowed to participate in all sports and activities being offered on campuses in high school and college.

It prohibits sex discrimination in education programs supported by federal dollars, including high school sports. After the bill was passed, the number of women playing sports dramatically increased.

Three of LQHS’ physical education teachers reflect on Title IX’s impact on their time as collegiate athletes.

Anahi Vazquez is a first-year physical education teacher at La Quinta High School, where she also graduated in 2015. She then attended college at Cal State Stanislaus. She ran track and cross country in both high school and college.

“[Stanislaus] was nice because it was a smaller school. It was almost the same size as La Quinta High School. It was almost like one-on-one with professors. The sports were still as competitive as a Division l, we just didn’t have a football team,” she said. “Once you drop down to Division ll, not every division two has a football team and that has to do with Title IX.”

Being a female athlete may be challenging for some women because of the negativity they may face from people. 

Vazquez said that she has experienced negative comments for doing what she does.

“Yes, obviously there are always those comments,” Vazquez said. 

Other people have told her: “I can do it better. I don’t want to do it like a girl. I can hit better than a girl. I can run faster than the girls.” 

Brianna Luna also teaches P.E., where, she, too, graduated from LQHS in 2011 and then graduated from the University of Iowa in 2014, and, finally, from Azusa Pacific University to get her master’s degree in physical education in 2021.

All sports are competitive and, with that, comes negative comments.

“It does get very competitive, as do all sports, especially softball. When I played in Iowa, when we went to away games, some of their sports fans were heckling us. That just kind of comes with the sport, but thankfully I have never really experienced any sort of negativity or derogatory toward me or my teammates,” Luna said.

Stephanie Henderson, a physical education teacher and coach, graduated from San Diego State. 

“We weren’t able to have a boys’ swim team or a boys’ water polo team because football took up the majority of athletes due to Title IX,” she said. 

Although Title IX has already made such a big impact on women and their sports, there is still room for improvement. 

“I think we’ve already been making a lot of improvements. We have our first NFL female referee, our first NFL football coach too, and basketball coach. I think we’re heading in the right direction with it,” Henderson said.

“In some ways, yes. An example is one of the biggest things that I know especially when it comes to WNBA and NBA when it comes to salaries and stuff like that. I know, unfortunately, there is not as much popularity with women’s sports and that’s why you know, the revenue, they don’t get paid as much as the men do. I just want to promote women’s sports a little more,” Luna said.

“Football is a sport that brings a lot of revenue for schools. I think they need to find a way to provide that for women’s sports because I feel like scholarships, like obviously football players get like full rides and all these things; I feel like they need to find a balance for it where more girls are getting full rides and getting all the help that they need where the football players are getting help, you know. That’s the one thing that I think they should change. Scholarships. They should give more scholarships to women. That’s for sure,” Vazquez said.

Many student athletes’ mindsets are different. Some may take the negative comments and use them as motivation while others may take it personally and quit.

“I was raised to always be very resilient, I like to overcome challenges, and I actually think of it as more of an opportunity than you know, than an obstacle. My parents said to never give up and to stick with everything, so it’s the mentality that I’ve always had,” Luna said. 

“In a competitive nature, I’d just try to do better but I also try to block out the negativity because I don’t want to let that affect me and how I play. I just try to just block it out as much as possible and just kind of allow myself to think more positively and my teammates definitely helped. We all helped each other out,” Luna said.

“If anything, it motivated me more to show guys that are like, okay, yeah you might be on the soccer team but I‘m still faster than you. Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you’re going to beat me at something. So it would honestly motivate me more instead of unmotivating me. It made me want to be faster and stronger than most of the guys,” Vazquez said.