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v2.1 Reference

Women and Sports in the United States

A Documentary Reader

A spectacular transformation in women’s sports has occurred over the past century in colleges, high schools, and recreational leagues across the nation. Gradual changes during the late 1950s and 1960s within the fields of women’s physical education and amateur sport provided the initial energy for this transformation. But it took the rebirth of a grassroots feminist movement in the late 1960s and 1970s to catalyze the radical changes in women’s athletic opportunities and attitudes toward female athletes. The assimilation of feminist principles into the broader popular culture solidified the belief that sport plays a positive role in the lives of girls and women. Political activists for women’s rights codified this attitude with the passage of Title IX of the 1972 Federal Education Amendments, a law banning gender discrimination in educational settings, thus guaranteeing women’s legal right to an equitable share of athletic opportunities and resources. Though the sea change in American women’s sports is evident in schools, the media, and local playing fields, scholars are still in the early stages of fully examining the causes and impacts of this historic change. Women and Sports in the United States brings together scholarly articles, journalism, political and legal documents, and first-person accounts that collectively explore women’s sports in America, with emphasis on the post–Title IX era.This book was published with the generous support of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.

About the Authors

JEAN O’REILLY holds a Ph.D. in English and American Studies from the University of East Anglia in England. She teaches courses on women’s sports films at the University of Connecticut.SUSAN K. CAHN, Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the author of the award-winning Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Women’s Sports (1994) and is widely recognized as one of the top scholars of women’s sports history.


“There is no stronger means to demonstrate the complexities of gendered politics on women’s place in sport in contemporary settings than watching them play out across time. O’Reilly and Cahn present us with a series of essays that do just that as they use history as a guide to help situate how more present-day issues and tensions surrounding women and sport emerge, take root, get challenged, and sometimes persist. It is the sum of the various stories, essays, and articles presented in the text that afford readers an opportunity to contextualize and critically examine female sport experience.”—Journal of Sport History

“The book . . . offers an excellent education in the tribulations and triumphs faced by American sportswomen from 1882 to 2005, and is organized in a way that . . . helps readers develop both historical knowledge and analytical insight into contemporary sport and gender relations.”—University of Buffalo News Center

“A welcome addition to the sports science literature, which should appeal to all those who want to immerse themselves in American sports culture in general and the position of women in the United States in particular.”—Nordic Sports Studies Forum


"O'Reilly and Cahn have compiled an extraordinary historical anthology of women's sports in the U.S. Their inclusion of original documents from each era and careful selection of knowledgeable writers make this book an absorbing and authoritative read for anyone interested in women's journey toward sports equality."—Pat Griffin, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

9781555536718 : women-and-sports-in-the-united-states-o-reilly-cahn
Paperback / softback
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