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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX

1 year agoColleen Johnson

50 years ago Thursday, Title IX was instituted as a groundbreaking effort to afford women opportunities in sports.

Cubs minor league pitching coach Rachel Folden and Marquee Sports Network host, reporter and analyst Elise Menaker each talked to Cole Wright about the impact Title IX has had on their lives on Cubs Live! Thursday morning.

Folden and Menaker were both softball players and discussed their gratitude for the people that came before them that created this possibility. 

“I think about how some of my opportunities have been so easy and so effortless and I know that that wasn’t always the case,” Folden said. “You know I was able to sports when I was a kid no problem. There was always women’s sports available for me.

“I really played every sport growing up and that’s part of the opportunity, right? Not having to think twice that if I want to try soccer, if I want to try gymnastics, whatever it may be I can go out there and do it and that’s because of Title IX.”

Although both agreed that Title IX has opened up a world of new opportunities that didn’t exist before, they shared that there still are a lot of inequalities they see between men’s and women’s sports. 

Growing up with older brothers, Folden said she was always able to see these differences and hoped to be able to see a change. 

“To now be kinda doing what I am now, it’s pretty cool to be able to like cross over to the other side into a men’s sport as a female. And then you can really start to see where those opportunities and those disparities are,” Folden said.

“I mean, I played professional softball and it’s just like nowhere close to the opportunities that these guys have. And that’s not an indictment against the men — they deserve everything that they’ve gotten, but like it would be nice to see that on the women’s side as well.”

Menaker agreed.

“The catch is too, when you play pro [softball] in the states you also have to have other gigs, side gigs because you don’t get paid enough,” Menaker said. “And so for me that’s where it sticks out. It’s just that I could never see sports as a full job.”

Menaker is hopeful that there will be more resources put towards women’s sports in the future, using Marquee Sport Network’s coverage of Chicago Sky games as one example of this.

“That’s a huge step forward that women can be seen,” Menaker said.

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