Conversations: 40 Years of Title IX

“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…” – Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972

Head of School Tim Johnson spoke at Friday’s Morning Meeting about the 40th anniversary of Title IX. “I was affected by Title IX myself, and many people of my generation were and still are,” he said. Tim went on to explain that he began his “undergraduate career in a well-known university in Canada as an ice hockey player where there was a vast athletic enterprise” focused entirely on men, and how Title IX changed all that.

Next he introduced a short film from the White House, “Title IX at 40,” which explores the “the monumental impact that piece of legislation had on furthering equal rights for women in America.”


Finally, several staff and faculty members spoke briefly about the impact Title IX had on their own lives:

Assistant Athletic Director Erica Kajdasz

“Title IX has affected my life because it gave me the opportunity to have my career in athletics,” she began. “That’s not something that would have been possible before it was put in place.” She recounted the sports involvement of her youth, from her 10 years of gymnastics to the love of softball that carried through college. After college, when Erica realized that San Francisco Little League was limited to baseball, she started its softball program, realized her potential in youth athletics and administration, and thus her career was born.

Academics Records Manager Samantha Gallop

“I played Division I [field hockey] at Cal for four years,” Sam said. “One of the things that my mom used to always remind me is that when she wanted to play sports, she couldn’t, because the only sport available was cheerleading.” Sam went on to remind The Bay School’s community, as her mother used to remind her, not to take for granted the athletic opportunities that have the ability to shape girls and women’s experiences and identities.

Arts instructor Ascha Drake

“All through high school and all through college I was a rower – being tall, being strong – and it just gave me such a sense of empowerment,” Ascha said, recalling that her strength rivaled and sometimes surpassed that of her male teammates. “That experience of being a rower has threaded through my life … now I’ve run eight marathons and a couple triathlons, and I continue to be athletic and strong and embrace it.”

Director of Communications Grace Woods

Grace began by noting that, while men’s water polo was among the first Olympic sports starting in 1900, women’s water polo didn’t get there until 2000. As a result, most high schools and colleges had only men’s teams until that time. “When I went to UCLA, and we won the Division I national championships, it was the first NCAA women’s championship,” Grace said. “In college I was playing with Olympians … I got to learn things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise such as treating every practice like it’s championship day, that the only form of permanence is repetition and things like self-discipline.” She concluded, “I hope that we can all have gratitude for what Title IX has helped sports help women become.”

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