Athletics Celebrates 50 Years of Title IX


50 years since Title IX was implemented, the athletics department is celebrating the accomplishments of women and girls in sports. (Courtesy of Pia Fischetti/The Fordham Ram)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of Title IX, Fordham Athletics announced its celebration in collaboration with National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an annual day of observance to acknowledge and commend the accomplishments and influence of female athletes. Fordham’s celebration of the 50th anniversary in accordance with this annual day emphasizes the importance of Title IX, as it protects against sex-based discrimination in the collegiate athletic system.

Heading these celebrations is Jordan Bowles, associate athletic director for strategic initiatives and diversity, equity and inclusion at Fordham.
According to Bowles, Title IX “opened up access to higher education for women across the country, giving them new opportunities for the future.”
Continuing through November 2022, Bowles also illustrated the initiatives planned for celebrating this anniversary. These initiatives include a fundraising campaign that benefits all women’s programs at Fordham. The Women’s Athletic Cornerstone Fund raises awareness and financial support to “achieve excellence across all Fordham women’s programs.” With a fundraising goal of $5,000, many have already donated to show their appreciation of Fordham’s female athletes.

Celebrations will also include networking events and a panel with current female student-athletes and student-athlete alumni, as they discuss their experiences in accordance with what Title IX means to them.

Bowles explained that each female varsity sport will have a Title IX game, highlighting their alumni and program history and acknowledging Fordham’s female coaches, staff and administrators. These events boast Title IX 50th anniversary t-shirts for all student-athletes, coaches and staff, though that will not overshadow the highlighting of outstanding voices and accomplishments of Fordham’s current and past female student-athletes.

The passage of this landmark legislation came in 1972, a date jarring for many. Indeed, only 50 years have passed since Title IX was put in place to protect against gender discrimination in sports. Audrey Hayes, FCRH ’25, a female student-athlete on the varsity volleyball team, explained that for her, the significance of Title IX was the fact that it was passed not so long ago, “It has only been 50 years.” Not that long ago, she said she would not feel as protected as she does with this statute in place. However, even as Hayes expressed her belief that Title IX at Fordham made her feel more protected as a female student-athlete, she spoke of the disparity between how the female and male’s teams are advertised and treated.

Hayes was quick to point out the difference in the advertisement of the events of the women’s basketball team and the men’s basketball team. Since the men’s basketball team brings in more money for the school, its events are advertised on a greater scale. More emails are sent to advertise games and a greater number of signs and fliers are placed in various locations that promote the team. Hayes then said that the women’s sports teams are not given the opportunity to generate the same revenue that the men’s teams do, as their events are not advertised to the same extent.

Matilda Flood, FCRH ’25, is a player on the women’s varsity basketball team who also touched on this disparity. When asked about her thoughts on whether she thought Fordham did an adequate job on treating the men’s and women’s teams equally, she said that she believed that they were moving in the right direction.

“There’s still a pretty big difference in the little things like the amount of ‘merch’ we get, the quality of our locker rooms, food and extra things like that,” said Flood, “But we have come a long way from what it used to be at Fordham.”

Flood mentioned how Fordham originally only boasted the men’s basketball team — not even allowing a women’s basketball team to be formed.

The passage of Title IX was arguably one of the most positive and impactful events for women in collegiate sports history. We look back at the student-female athletes whose experiences are impacted by the implementation of Title IX and reflect on their accomplishments and sacrifices. We honor them and their part in inspiring the next generation of female student athletes.

Some of Fordham’s most promising female student-athletes still insist that the university has a long way to go in bridging the gap between the treatment of the men’s and women’s teams.

It has been 50 of progress, with many more to go.