130 Years of Women's Sports

130 Years of Women's Sports

Women’s sports have come a long way in gaining equality with men due to the combined efforts of many trailblazing women. Here’s a timeline of highlights from the past 130 years of women in sports:

1896: First female college basketball game, Stanford defeats UC Berkeley

1900: Women are allowed to compete in the Paris Olympics

1967: Kathrine Switzer becomes the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with a bib

1972: Title IX is passed, prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools

1973: Battle of the Sexes: Billie Jean King defeats chauvinist Bobby Riggs in a tennis match, garnering greater respect for women’s tennis. The US Open is the first Grand Slam tournament to award men and women equal prize money.

1976: Ann Meyers is the first woman to receive a four year athletic scholarship. She plays basketball at UCLA

1984: Women are allowed to run the Olympic Marathon; they were previously excluded because they were thought to be too weak

1991: First women’s FIFA World Cup, United States won

2012: For the first time, women compete in all sports at the 2012 London Olympics and the US team has more men than women

2020: Alyssa Nakken is the first woman to coach a Major League Baseball team, she is hired by the San Francisco Giants

2021: Sarah Thomas is the first female referee in the Super Bowl

2023: The National Women’s Soccer League agrees to the largest media deal in women’s sports worth over $240 million


Biography. (n.d). Billie Jean King. Retrieved January 22, 2024, from https://www.billiejeanking.com/biography/  


Kuwana, C. (2022, June 9). 50 Years of Title IX: The Defining Moments of Women’s Sports. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/college/2022/06/09/title-ix-50-years-timelinehttps://www.si.com/college/2022/06/09/title-ix-50-years-timeline 

Spears, B. (1984). A Perspective of the History of Women’s Sport in Ancient Greece. Journal of Sport History, 11(2), 32–47. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43609020
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