Title IX requires federally funded schools to offer equal opportunities to male and female students, especially in sports. Northern Michigan University's Beaumier Heritage Center hosted a roundtable discussion on Title IX's history and local impacts Thursday evening in honor of 40 years of Title IX.
Title IX has changed student athletics in America. Made law in 1972, it opened the door for women athletes across the country. A panel of women spoke on title nine at the Beaumier Heritage Center. Among them was Barbara Patrick, a retired NMU Associate Athletics Director who started working with NMU in 1965.
She says it was a long road to equality and remembers what it was like before Title IX to be a woman in college sports.
"We never had a budget that we could look at and know what the men were getting and what the women were getting. We were just told, you're going to get so much money," said Patrick.
Title IX did not introduce overnight changes, but panelist Cindy Paavola says it helped level the playing field. The law helped her become the first woman at NMU to work with a men's varsity team back in the 1980s. She says Title IX's impacts reached far and wide.
"It's been an absolutely landmark law and has really changed the world, not just here in the United States, but because of what happened here in the United States, it did have an impact all around the globe," said Paavola, current Director of Communications for NMU.
The panel helped to communicate those changes and advances to the audience, many of them young women now in a college world very different from Patrick's.
Patrick helped create multiple women's athletics teams at NMU over the decades. Thanks to Title IX, she knows they will be treated as well as the men's teams.
"Love it. Title IX... It has done so much," Patrick said.
Also on the panel were NMU history professor Dr. Rebecca Mead and Marquette Senior High School Athletics Director Jamie Tuma. The panel was a part of The BHC's exhibit "UP Power: High School Sports in Upper Michigan" which will be on display through March 30.