Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is a sometimes- controversial law that bans sex discrimination in schools. The law states,"No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid."
Title IX is intended to make sure that athletic opportunities for men and woman are equal, not the same. Title IX does not mean that there must be a female wrestling or football team, but it does mean that if there are ten men sports, there must also be ten women sports, whether or not they are the same sports.
In Bristol, sports for women actually got its start in 1967 when a school teacher at Bristol Eastern High School convinced administration to start an interscholastic sports program for girls. The school teacher was a Bristol native by the name of Joann Galati. Growing up, Ms. Galati had brothers who were involved in sports. Although she was a girl growing up in a time period where girl’s athletics were virtually non-existent, she enjoyed sports too. She learned a lot about sports and continued to enjoy them as she grew older. After completing college, she went to teach in a New York school district where there was a girl’s sports program. She coached the girl’s softball, basketball, field hockey and volleyball teams in NY. Then, in 1967 when a teaching position opened at Bristol Eastern High School, she jumped at the opportunity. She enjoyed teaching in Bristol but missed the girl’s sports friendly environment of her old NY school and she decided to start a girl’s sports program in Bristol. That same year she held tryouts for varsity girl’s basketball, and then varsity softball. Both tryouts were huge successes, with more than 100 highly skilled girls attending each. Although she wasn’t taken seriously at first, things did progress to the point where the community respected her girl’s sports teams. This was partly because of the skill level and determination of the girls, and later due to Title IX being put into effect.
Title IX was a very important step in beginning a successful women’s sports program in Bristol. By making Title IX a law, opposition to the idea of women’s sports lessened and women’s sports in Bristol has skyrocketed. Over the past 25 years, our lives have been influenced in many ways by Title IX. One of the biggest changes Title IX is responsible for is equal opportunities for men and women in athletics. The UConn Huskies women’s basketball team, the US World Cup women’s soccer team and the little leaguers who play softball in Bristol and other towns all owe their chance to play sports to Title IX.
In Bristol, participation in girl’s sports has skyrocketed over the last 25 years. Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and St. Paul have participated in girl’s state championship games in basketball, volleyball and softball and have won many league and state titles.
Galati, Joann. (Retired Director of Athletics in Bristol) Interview.
The Torch (Bristol Central High School Yearbook). 1974, 1975, 1999.