Every March 8 we celebrate International Women’s Day to raise awareness of women’s rights and their battle to achieve equal status. It also reminds us of the challenges, struggles and inequality faced by women worldwide. This year the UN’s theme –Equality for Women is Progress for All – echoes my life story.
Growing up in the infancy of Title IX, I sat on the sideline longing for the right to participate in sports like the boys. I had a dream. That one day, I too, would be allowed on center court. In 1972, Title IX mandated gender equity in all schools, which opened doors in education and sport. I was off and running, blazing a trail as a pioneer in women’s basketball.
International Women’s Day holds special significance this year as I have been given a platform to share my voice, a voice representing the silent generation of American women who fought so hard in the past to earn the rights we enjoy today.
I slouched through adolescence, feeling ashamed for my talents, ridiculed for my love of sports. But I am standing tall today. After the publication of my memoir, Home Sweet Hardwood, A Title IX Trailblazer Breaks Barriers Through Basketball, I have been invited to share my story all over including at the very men’s clubs that banned women when I was growing up.
When I was a kid even in America, the world’s greatest democracy, the basketball court was not the only arena where women were conspicuously absent. I didn’t know any female doctors or lawyers or businesswomen. It was unheard of. We fought for the right to play ball and in doing so, paved the wave for our high-flying daughters of today including my own biological daughter, a pediatrician, who went onto to become the first doctor in our family.
As part of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point educational program, Title IX and Access to Opportunity, I have been given a spot in the limelight. I’ve been invited to speak to the community and as keynote speaker at the NCAA DIII Final Four banquet. Forty-two years after the passage of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation, this international woman is stepping out, heading to the Big Dance.
March will be a month of celebration, but come April it will be back to work. Great gains have been made in some parts of the planet, but there is still work to be done around the globe to improve women’s health care, to protect reproductive rights, to guarantee equal pay, to curb the epidemic of violence against females, and to allow the voices of other women to be heard worldwide.
You go advocate, pioneer and activist for women rights worldwide! I’m proud to know you, visionary woman.
And thank you, Clara, for inspiring me to be an Authentic Woman.
Congratulations on your wonderful new opportunity, Pat! And I join you in celebrating the progress we have made and the distance we have yet to travel towards equality. Happy International Women’s Day!
I appreciate your support Carol and all you do as part of the YWCA to promote equality for all.
So proud of you, Pat. What an incredible opportunity. Wish I could be there. Will it be videotaped, live streamed or recorded so we can watch?
Wish we could be 2 places at once, so I could see you rock the SGIS over in Switzerland while I am dancing at the Final Four USA.
Pat, what a perfect spokes-woman you are for women’s rights! I wish I could be there to see you shine as I know you will. They say the best revenge is success and that you are, trailblazing your way into the men’s club to change that page in history. I love it!! You are truly an inspiration.
I will be representing women like you, Kathy, who never had the opportunity to compete in sports, but who refused to say no and made an impact in their professions.
Congratulations..Celebrate YOU and your accomplishments and your paving the way for women!!
Thanks Deb, I will be celebrating not so much me, but US!
Thank you for making such a difference for all of us. When I entered my career in law enforcement, there weren’t many women, but we had incredible ladies that took the hard first steps that have opened so many doors. I admire their efforts, too.
I can imagine that law enforcement was a tough field to crack. Good for you and others for blazing the way.
I echo what others have written and thank you for having the courage to blaze the trail for other women and then share your inspiring story. Can’t wait to celebrate in person with you next week. Love you, Sis.
Thanks for cheering me on every step of the way.
As I sit next to my husband, a UW grad, reading this, we are both impressed by your new position of speaking at UW for the NCAA. You are rocking the world for all women, and I, for one, am proud to have you represent us. You go, girl!
Thanks, Cathy. I appreciate the support you and the rest of the women on the Midlife Boulevard. You, especially, give me the courage to keep writing, sharing my message, and putting one foot forward on those bad days. So cool that your husband is a UW grad!
Words cannot express my pride, gratitude and love for you in pioneering the way for many of us in Women sports back then and continuing in to today! We have a come a long way BABY! But the work is not done. So we women continue to find strength, courage and inspiration in stories such as yours sis to make a difference in the opportunities for our daughters, nieces and granddaughters to follow!
Thanks sis. How blessed I was to have a baby sis like you who always had my back.
Patty, Congrats on being the Keynote speaker! How exciting. Once again blazing a trail for us all. So proud to be your bff!
Thanks Peggy…we never realized how remarkable it was when we were growing up that we had moms AND dads that supported us in sports going as far back to SHS gym club in grade school when we were allowed to perform at halftime with the high school students and Junior Sports Jamboree track club.
You’ll also be happy to know you have inspired me to take up yoga. Yockway!
Congratulations on being the keynote, Pat. How I wish I could be there to hear your presentation. Any chance you’ll get to the East Coast someday?
Thanks, Helene, wish you could be there too, so that I could meet you in person. Would LOVE to get to the East Coast one day,but until then let me know if you get back over the Big Pond first.
Goof for you, Pat, getting to the Big Dance! And I’m really enjoying your memoir, too (I’m reading it among all the other catch-up things that are clamoring for my attention!). Hope your talk goes well!
Thanks, Debbie. Glad you made it home safely.