August 28, 2012 Articles

The Courage to Speak Out Against Discrimination

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, and yet this law remains dramatically under-enforced.

By Elizabeth Kristen

In the early 1970s in Lincoln, Nebraska, my mother was outspoken about the rights of women and girls. Her views were often unpopular, and one opponent derided her by saying “What do you know about the law? You’re not a lawyer!” She took up the challenge and entered law school. At that time, there were few women in her class. As a student and single parent, she often brought me to campus—so the first time I went to law school, I was six years old.

One summer during law school, my mother took a job in Washington, D.C., with Women’s Lobby, and I went along with her. That summer, Women’s Lobby was focused on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Their lobbying strategy was to line the halls of the Capitol with women and girls to make our existence impossible to ignore. When I returned to Nebraska, I received a flier at school about a basketball team for boys only. I spoke up about my right to play and about Title IX. With my mom’s help, I became the only girl to play on the team.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now