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40 Years After Title IX, the Playing Field Still Isn't Level

The Women's Professional Soccer league "permanently suspended" operations, showing just how much further women's sports have to go.


This should be a happy month for female athletes and their supporters. A slew of events will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that banned gender discrimination in education (including sports). Some might have been too busy planning festivities to notice a quiet business decision that makes clear just how much further women's sports have to go.

On May 18, the Women's Professional Soccer league "permanently suspended" operations, becoming the second pro soccer league for women to go belly-up in the past 10 years. The decision came less than a year after the American women's team drew huge ratings—and a silver medal—in the World Cup, and just two months before the same team is scheduled to kick off in the Olympics, most likely to similar excitement. But as much as fans love watching women play soccer in those marquee events, they never turned out in large enough numbers to make a regular league viable (attendance at WPS games dropped after World Cup mania).

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