First Lady Jill Biden and tennis star Billie Jean King celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of Title IX Wednesday at DC’s Capital One Arena.
King and Biden discussed the importance of the landmark legislation, which was signed on June 23, 1972 and guaranteed equality for women in sports and education. The event, hosted by the State Department, also commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Global Sports Mentoring Program, an initiative that pairs women across the world with senior executives from U.S. based companies such as ESPN, Gatorade, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Biden discussed the need to teach Title IX in schools, and said it has helped improve girls’ access to education through athletic scholarships. “Our schools have created opportunities for women to learn, and safe spaces that help them fight back against discrimination and sexual violence,” Biden said. “These things no longer feel revolutionary. We take them for granted because they are our right.”
The anniversary comes days after the world governing body for swimming voted to ban transgender women from participating in women’s swimming competitions. King spoke about the need to continue expanding equality for young athletes who identify as LGBTQ+, are part of the BIPOC community, or have disabilities. “The primary beneficiaries of Title IX have been white, suburban girls. Let’s use this milestone anniversary to reenergize our focus on strengthening and advancing equity and opportunity for all girls and women,” King said. “We have to look forward.”
The National Museum of American History is also commemorating the legislation’s anniversary with We Belong Here, a new exhibit opening Friday that highlights contemporary issues related to women in sports.