For all the time that has passed since Title IX first made its way into federal law 45 years ago, suggests that improving the status of women in intercollegiate athletics has largely stalled.
According to the report, which was commissioned by the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, and the Gender Equity Task Force, the numbers of female head coaches and athletic directors have actually declined in the last 45 years.
For some, this finding may come as a surprise. Although Title IX was not explicitly designed to increase female participation in athletics, that has been one of its most visible effects. But at the same time, it seems likely that these increases in female participation have also driven more men towards coaching women’s teams. In 1972, the vast majority of women’s teams were coached by women. In 2014, the percentage of women’s teams coached by women was measured at about 43 percent.
While that number is based on national averages, titled, “Gender, Race and LGBT inclusion of Head Coaches of Women’s Teams: A Report on Select NCAA Division 1 Conferences for the 45th Anniversary of Title IX,” examines data for eight specific athletic conferences. The Ivy League was included as one of the conferences in the study because its executive director, Robin Harris, is a woman.
According to the report, which was produced by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota and LGBT SportSafe, the Ivy League had the highest percentage of women’s coaches for women’s teams. At 55 percent, the Ivy League was the only conference that earned a “B” in the Women in College Coaching Report Card.
At Penn specifically, six head coaches out of 15 varsity women’s teams listed on the Penn Athletics staff directory are women. Penn’s athletic director, M. Grace Calhoun, is also a woman.