On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law Title IX of the Education Amendment:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Best known for its impact on women’s sports, Title IX demanded women have equal athletic opportunities. Since its passing, participation by women in high school sports has grown 979% and 545% at the college level. And while the law has created significant opportunities for women athletes, women still face discrimination in sports; ability to participate in traditional ‘male’ sports, scholarship opportunities, and at the professional level–equal pay.
To celebrate how far women in sports have come in the 40 years since the Title IX passing, Nike created a tribute spot, ‘Voices,’ that features women who were pioneers in their sports. Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first woman to win the Olympic Marathon in 1984, talks about being spit on by men while running. Lisa Leslie, a member of the inaugural season for the WNBA, reflects on how boys wouldn’t pass to her when she played on an all-male team as a young girl.
The spot intersperses the face and voices of these sports legends with young girls, a poignant reminder of the inequalities women still face in sports: