In today’s America, fans across the nation can enjoy women’s and men’s versions of nearly all sports,―but it has not always been this way. On Feb. 2, the Portland State Rec Club will host a presentation honoring National Women and Girls in Sports Day. This year is the 40th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, the bill which prohibits discrimination by sex in education. The event highlights speakers that range from an Olympic medal winner to Portland State athletes and coaches and young women athletes from around Portland.
“I don’t want athletes to say this is how it’s always been, this is great, we’re happy,” Women’s basketball head coach Sherri Murrell said. “They need to appreciate what has gone on in the past to get us here, and they need to look at themselves and ask what they can do to make others understand the importance of where we are.”
The National Association of Women and Girls in Sports is putting NWGSD on. NWGSD has been a continued advocate, educate, and promote for equity in athletics.
Murrell will be on of the featured speakers at the event. She said equity among genders in athletics is not something to take lightly, and is something that athletes and supporters need to always fight to improve.
“It’s upon us to embrace these opportunities,” Murrell said. “We’re products of [Title IX]. We have to be appreciative of it.”
Title IX paved the way for many of the achievements of women athletes today. The athletics section of the law mandates equal opportunities for men and women athletes in funding, scholarships, scheduling, practice facilities. According to NWGSD, although there have been drastic changes in opportunities, there are still many strides to be made to be made towards equality on the field and court.
Rec center program coordinator Samantha Faile said there are three main topics she hopes people will take away from the presenters: the history of Title IX, its current impact, and the continued advocacy work of women in sports.
“We as females still have a ways to go to be equal in the sporting world,” Faile said. “We need to educate today’s students on what still needs to occur for the playing field to be truly equal.”
Olympian Kelly Tysland, Murrell, Local business owner Diana Marsden and athletes Shannon Oslter and Melissa Trammell will be speaking at the event.
Tysland is a 2006 women’s ice hockey bronze medalist, and also a two-time Division I ice-hockey champion. Murrell has coached the women’s basketball team for five seasons. Marsden is the CEO and also founder of Aries Apparel. Oslter is a teenage athlete from Hood River and Trammell is a current Portland State soccer player.
Title IX has had many impacts at Portland State. Currently the Vikings have six women Varsity athletic programs―basketball, golf, softball, tennis, track and field/cross-country and volleyball. In the 2010–11 season the women’s side of Viking athletics claimed a basketball regular season title, a softball division and conference championship, and a golf conference championship.
“[Title IX] opens opportunities for these young athletes to play at this level and be recognized,” Murrell said. “A lot of the older alumni women athletes I have talked to at PSU said, ‘Man, we didn’t even have records when we were here.’ I’m sure there were a ton of incredible athletes that didn’t get the recognition. We are a product of that great passage.”
The NWGSD event is scheduled for Feb. 2 at 4:30–6:45 p.m. at the Student Rec Center. There will be refreshments and a raffle available. Tickets to that evening’s women’s basketball game will be given out at the event, and the first 200 people will receive headbands.