A look at the history and impact of Title IX on women's sports

This legislation laid the groundwork for women's sports in schools, but its influence has gone far beyond the court and the field.
6:54 | 06/23/22

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Transcript for A look at the history and impact of Title IX on women's sports
THANK YOU. >>> ROBIN, OVER TO YOU. >>> NOW OUR CELEBRATION OF TITLE IX, THE GAME-CHANGING LEGISLATION THAT LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR WOMEN'S SPORTS IN SCHOOLS. OUR BECKY WORLEY, A FIERCE COLLEGE SOCCER AND RUGBY PLAYER, I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT BACK WITH TITLE IX. WHAT IT MEANT WHEN IT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW 50 YEARS AGO TODAY AND KNOWING THERE IS STILL WORK TO BE DONG. >> I CANNOT IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE GIRLS AND WOMEN DON'T PLAY SPORTS, BUT HALF A CENTURY AGO, IT WAS THE NORM. � >> NCAA REGIONAL FINALS. >> Reporter: 50 YEARS AGO SPORTS IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES LOOKED LIKE THIS BUT IN 1972 A POLITICIAN FROM MY HOMETOWN IN HAWAII HELPED CHANGE THAT. >> WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL JUSTICE. >> Reporter: THE FIRST WOMAN OF COLOR ELECTED TO CONGRESS CO-WROTE AND SPONSORED THE TITLE IX LEGISLATION. THOSE 37 WORDS STARTED A SLOW MARCH TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY. >> IT REALLY WAS INTENDED TO BE A BROAD PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT PROHIBITED SEX DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND IT WASN'T UNTIL A FEW YEARS LATER WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WAS ISSUING REGULATIONS THAT SPORTS BECAME AN ISSUE BECAUSE PEOPLE REALIZED PROHIBITING SEX DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION INCLUDED SCHOOL-SPONSORED SPORTS. >> Reporter: WHILE EQUITY IN SPORTS STILL ISN'T PERFECT WE'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY. >> ONE, TWO, THREE. >> TITLE IX OPENED THE DOORS FOR GIRLS TO PLAY SPORTS AND THEY CAME RUSHING THROUGH. >> Reporter: TODAY WOMEN MAKE UP 44% OF ALL NCAA ATHLETES COMPARED TO 15% BEFORE TITLE IX. >> COLLEGE IS THAT NEXT STOP FOR A LOT OF GIRLS AND WOMEN TO BE ABLE TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP TO PLAY SPORTS IN COLLEGE, ALSO GET A COLLEGE EDUCATION AND KIND OF KICK-START A POSSIBLE PROFESSIONAL CAREER WITHOUT TITLE IX I KNOW FOR SURE I WILL NOT BE WHERE I AM TODAY. >> Reporter: SOFTBALL LEGEND CAT OSTERMAN SAYS GROWING UP IN TEXAS A NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR TOOK NOTICE OF THE FUTURE OLYMPIAN PRACTICING FOR HOURS IN THE FAMILY DRIVEWAY. >> HE APPROACHED MY DAD AND SAID, HEY, I THINK WE HAVE A TITLE IX ISSUE. ALL THE HIGH SCHOOLS HAVE BASEBALL FIELDS BUT FEW HAVE SOFTBALL FIELDS AND HE MADE A PUSH TO GET EVERY HIGH SCHOOL ITS OWN SOFTBALL FIELD SO BY THE TIME I STARTED HIGH SCHOOL I HAD A HOME FIELD AT MY HIGH SCHOOL THAT WASN'T GOING TO BE THERE ORIGINALLY. >> Reporter: BUT BEYOND THE COURT OR FIELD THIS LEGISLATION HAS HAD A MAJOR IMPACT ON SOCIETY. THE MAJORITY OF U.S. MEDICAL STUDENTS TODAY ARE WOMEN, SAME WITH LAW SCHOOLS AND WHILE THE S.T.E.M. FIELDS ARE CATCHING UP THE ATHLETES THAT PURSUED THOSE FIELDS ARE OUT OF THIS WORLD. LIKE FORMER USA RUGBY STAR AND DIVISION 1 SOFTBALL PLAYER ANNE McCLAIN. >> MY MOM WANTED TO BE AN ASTRONAUT TOO AND WAS JUST BORN AT THE WRONG TIME BUT SHE GOT TO SEE WHAT I COULD DO WHEN THINGS LIKE TITLE IX ARE IN PLACE AND THEY GIVE OPPORTUNITIES. >> Reporter: McCLAIN IS A MEMBER OF ARTEMUS SELECTED FOR THE RETURN TO THE MOON PROGRAM. >> ONE OF THE THINGS WE LOOK FOR WHEN WE SELECT ASTRONAUTS ARE THOSE WHO KNOW HOW TO WORK AND FUNCTION IN A TEAM. ONE OF THE GREAT WAYS YOU CAN PROVE THOSE SKILLS IS THROUGH ATHLETICS. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PROFESSION SPORTS IS A GREAT WAY TO SET YOURSELF UP TO BE A TEAM PLAYER. >> Reporter: CEOs FOLLOW THE SAME PATTERN. ONE POLL SAYS OVER 90% OF WOMEN PLAYED SPORTS FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE COURT -- >> THIS NOMINATION IS CONFIRMED. >> Reporter: OF COURSE THAT OTHER COURT, THESE WONDER WOMEN ARE A TESTAMENT TO THE BROAD ENDURING IMPACT OF TITLE IX'S MERE 37 WORDS. GIRLS CONTINUE TO BREAK BARRIERS TODAY. >> SARA FULLER HAS BECOME THE FIRST WOMAN TO SCORE A POINT IN A POWER 5 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME. >> Reporter: THE BATTLE CRY FOR BASIC EQUALITY CONTINUES. [ CROWD CHANTING ] >> THIS IS OUR WEIGHT ROOM. LET ME SHOW Y'ALL THE MEN'S WEIGHT ROOM. >> I THINK TITLE IX HAS HELPED ME REALIZE THAT I DO NEED TO TINGE TO CARRY THE TORCH BECAUSE THERE ARE INEQUALITIES THAT I FACED IN MY LIFETIME AND STILL FACE TODAY. >> I THINK THE KEY IS WE CONTINUE TO PUSH FORWARD SO THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS AREN'T FIGHTING THE SAME BATTLES THAT WE'RE FIGHTING. >> Reporter: BEFORE TITLE IX WAS PASSED FEWER THAN 300,000 GIRLS PLAYED HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS. TODAY THAT NUMBER IS 3.5 MILLION AND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND ORGANIZATIONS, YOU SEE WOMEN LEADERS, RISK TAKERS, TEAM PLAYERS, HERE AT ABC, ROBIN PLAYED COLLEGE BASKETBALL. LARA WAS A DIVER. I PLAYED SOCCER AND RUG GIO IN COLLEGE. ALL I CAN SAY IS THANK YOU, TITLE IX. >> PROUD PRODUCTS, BOTH OF US OF TITLE IX. >> HOW DOES IT IMPACT YOU BEING AN ATHLETE AND NOW COMING INTO THE BUSINESS WORLD AND MEDIA WORLD. >> MICHAEL AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE. HOW TO BE A TEAM PLAYER AND I KNOW OTHERS HAVE ALLUDED TO THAT AS WELL BUT IT TAUGHT ME, BECKY, HOW TO LOSE AS MUCH AS IT TAUGHT ME HOW TO WIN. AND IT'S JUST THESE ATTRIBUTES THAT MEN HAVE USED FOR GENERATIONS TO BE SUCCESSFUL OUTSIDE OF THE PLAYING FIELD AND WOMEN NOW IN THE LAST 50 YEARS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT. HOW ABOUT FOR YOU? I KNEW ABOUT SOCCER. I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT RUGBY. >> I PLAYED THAT SPORT FOR 15 YEARS. AFTER PLAYING RUGBY LIVE TV DOESN'T SCARE ME. >> EXACTLY. [ LAUGHTER ] >> BUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT LOSING, RESILIENCE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. YOU KNOW, IT'S ABOUT HAVING THAT -- I THINK STEPH CURRY CALLS IT THE BAD SHOT AMNESIA. YEAH, I MADE A MISTAKE, I GOT TO GET ON WITH IT. IT'S ABOUT BOUNCING BACK AND THEN THAT TEAMWORK THING. YOU KNOW, HERE THE TWO OF US, THERE ARE A THOUSAND PEOPLE THAT MADE THIS HAPPEN AND YOU REALLY HAVE TO LISTEN TO THOSE VOICES, YOU HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL TO THEM AND APPRECIATE THE TEAM THAT WE HAVE ALL AROUND US. >> I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE, BECKY. AND SO WE'RE CELEBRATING BUT THERE IS STILL WORK TO BE DONE. I MEAN, THIS IS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE, TITLE IX AND ABOUT EQUALITY AND WE'VE SEEN THAT ESPECIALLY WITH THE FIGHT FOR PAY EQUITY. >> OH, YEAH, I MEAN LET'S TALK ABOUT WOMEN'S TENNIS, RIGHT? THEY'VE BEEN LOBBYING FOR EQUAL PAY AND THEN THE FOUR GRAND SLAMS DO OFFER EQUAL PRIZE MONEY BUT THAT'S NOT THE CASE OVERALL, SERENA WILLIAMS EARNED $46 MILLION IN PRIZE MONEY. THAT'S NOTHING TO SHAKE A STICK AT BUT ROGER FEDERER EARNED ALMOST DOUBLE THAT 84 MILLION AND IN BASKETBALL THE AVERAGE MALE PLAYER EARNS 5.3 MILLION. WNBA PLAYERS EARN 130,000 A YEAR >> THAT'S WHY THEY GO OVERSEAS TO HAVE TO PLAY TO SUPPLEMENT AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ABOUT BRITTNEY GRINER AND THAT'S THE REASON SHE WAS IN RUSSIA PLAYING BUT, AGAIN, IT'S A CELEBRATION AND WE HAVE A TRAIL BLAZER THAT'S GOING TO JOIN US IN OUR NEXT HALF HOUR BUT RIGHT NOW, THANK YOU,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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