Title IX transforms athletics

Ellie Pazol, Executive Features Editor

Before the creation of Title IX in 1972, Ann Fastert, instructional supervisor for physical education from 1992-2005, recalls taking girls interested in sports, such as badminton, on “playdates” against schools in the surrounding area.

“The ‘playdate’ would mean that [the girls] would have a friendly competition with the other team,” said Fastert in a phone interview. “There was no score kept. It was more social than it was anything else. However, there was obviously skill involved and certainly [they] got after it because they were craving to do that.”

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that states,“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.”

According to Fastert, once Title IX was passed, the seven female P.E. teachers, who some faculty called the “Title IX girls,” had to fight to get girls sports at Glenbrook North. After an interscholastic program was implemented, there was more progress to be made in equalizing the sharing of facilities, funds for girls’ uniforms and pay for female coaches.

“The only thing we never had to fight for was girls wanting to participate in sports,” said Fastert. “Right from the beginning, the girls came out in large numbers to try out for sports teams.”

Today, the athletic program offers 16 girls sports and 15 boys sports across a variety of levels.

Senior Chloe Macmillan said she believes that GBN’s athletic program empowers female athletes. Macmillan runs cross country and expressed how, at the beginning of the season, the girls’ team has a meet in which they alternate running a mile at a time with an athlete from the boys’ team.

“I love that race,” said Macmillan. “It is the only relay we do all season and I think it is really fun. The guys are really fast and we don’t get that much of a break, but it’s really fun to compete together.”

According to Fastert, equality in athletics has been achieved at GBN, but it didn’t happen overnight.

“A lot has changed at Glenbrook North,” said Fastert. “A lot has changed in the community. A lot has changed climate-wise in our country. This is an extremely different time than it was in the ‘70s.”