POOR | Title IX and the Digital Age

More than four decades have elapsed since the enactment of Title IX — the landmark legislation that banned sex discrimination in federally funded activities and toppled robust barriers for female athletes. Plenty of women have leapt over gender-based hurdles in the subsequent years — the number of girls playing high school sports has increased every consecutive year for the last quarter century, a record number of viewers tuned in for the U.S. women’s finals at the 2015 World Cup and celebrity-status professionals such as Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey have shattered popular expectations of the female body’s limits. Vestiges of 20th century challenges for female athletes — lowered opportunities and expectations, funding deficiencies, racism and homophobia — endure, though purportedly to a lessened degree than in the past. While the topography of restrictions for women entering athletics has certainly evolved since 1972, four decades of “progress” have not obliterated the materiality of discrimination against female athletes. Rather, obstacles tend to take a different character than they did forty years ago.