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Before Title IX, working the concession stand was a sport

June 21, 2012 – 10:15 PM

By JoAnne Pappano

Title IX passed in 1972 when I was 27. I remember thinking, “This is a good thing because I have three daughters.”

I graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1962 and it was a much different time. It was a boy’s world. Girls my age felt that the boys had choices and that they got to do what they wanted to do. The girls got what was left over.

In high school, I wanted to take a drafting class but was told, “It’s not for you.” I had to get written permission from my father to enroll. (I was the only girl; I got an A).

Sports? Sports for us were in gym class. We enjoyed playing, but dreaded that afterwards everyone had to strip down and walk through an open shower. There were no afterschool teams for us. Girls were cheerleaders or worked the concession stand during football games. That was our sports participation.

Not having sports, I think, made us less competitive in other parts of school and life. You never thought of wanting to be the winner of things. We didn’t necessarily think of a career (even though I have worked my whole life as it turns out). Most girls thought of going to college, finding a husband, and having babies.

Looking back, I am frustrated that Title IX and change didn’t come sooner. But I’m glad it finally did happen. In some ways, it still feels like an old boy’s world – look at Congress – but Title IX has created possibilities.

It wasn’t an astounding change when it passed. But you could see schools and people starting to realize that they couldn’t deny young women the things they wanted to do. Girls now feel they can do anything, which is so good – and so different from when I grew up.

A few years before Title IX: Me at 24 with my four children











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