Title IX at 50
UVM administrator looks back at landmark legislation, ahead to future
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - “Title IX has given me so many incredible opportunities,” said Dr. Cathy Rahill, Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Development and Academic Affairs.” When I think about my journey just as a woman, as a mom, as an educator in life, athletics has always been my foundation: where I learned to be confident. I learned to fail. I learned to work hard.”
Rahill knows better than most the impact that legislation has had for female athletes. She played field hockey at North Carolina, winning a national title less than ten years after the NCAA started sponsoring the sport.
“I didn’t have a locker room when I played field hockey in college,” she said. There were a lot of differences among female student athletes and male student athletes. And now there’s a lot more discussion about equity.”
Rahill joined the athletic department at UVM more than a decade ago. She’s also the department’s Senior Woman Administrator and Title IX Coordinator.
“So the industry of college athletics has a lot of inequity as it is,” Rahill said. “We are part of that inequity. I’m lucky here at UVM athletics, where we have on a regular basis, challenging conversations about how we can as our own athletic department fight the inequity and fight the market and see what we can do to be different. “
When Rahill looks back on her time around college athletics, she says we’ve come a long way in developing equity and creating opportunities for female athletes. And that showed big time on the field this year as the Cats women’s sports teams had probably the best year in school history.
“It was an incredible year for female athletes here at UVM,” Rahill said. “I think we have coaches who are experienced, who are extremely good at what they do. We have the support from the administration and the university to make sure our female teams get what they need to win conference championships. And we’re gonna keep doing that.”
But that said, UVM and the rest of the country still have a long way to go.
“There are still approximately 60,000 more opportunities in college athletics for men compared to women,” Rahill said. “We have a long way to go around filling coaching positions with women. Um, athletic directors continue to mostly be male dominated positions. So there’s much more work to be done.”
Rahill hopes 50 years from now we won’t feel the need to commemorate the anniversary.
“My goal is that we wouldn’t have this interview in 50 years, that we wouldn’t even need to be talking about Title IX, that there would just be equity across every single level of college athletics,” she said. “We invest in female coaches, we invest in coaches of all female teams, and we create opportunities for young girls and women and transgender athletes at every single level.”
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