July 17, 2012

Title IX 40th anniversary

Though the law expanded opportunities for women in many arenas, it still faces challenges, experts say.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Janet Judge, below, a sports law attorney from North Yarmouth, is regarded by many as one of the nation’s foremost experts on Title IX. Above: Judge, at age 10 in 1972, was one of the first girls to play Little League baseball in her native Maryland. That season, she was mostly intentionally walked or hit by the pitch.

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Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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That's where people like Judge come in.

"Title IX involves intense technical compliance and that is a challenge for everyone," said UMaine's Abbott. "It requires a level of expertise and that's why we're lucky to have someone like Janet Judge working for us. There are a lot of small things you have to do to make sure you comply."

Bean is grateful to have Judge on his side as well. The two discuss compliance and, Bean said, she will point out shortcomings that the school works to eliminate.

One obvious shortcoming is the school's softball field. It is located next to the baseball field, which has several amenities that the softball field doesn't. Bean said the school is working to raise funds to improve the softball field.

"When we renovated our baseball stadium, the plan was to move right to softball and do that," he said. "Here we are, seven years later, and that still hasn't been taken care of. That's on our shortlist of things to take care of. We've known from day one it needs to be dealt with."


Abbott firmly believes that Title IX had everything to do with women now being accepted not only as athletes, but also as athletic administrators, coaches, doctors, lawyers, engineers or leaders in business.

"It wasn't that long ago when women's sports, or girls' sports, were treated more like recreation and more like intramurals," he said. "And those things are great. But it's a different experience ... to compete at the intercollegiate level.

"And the benefits (of competing in college) have been in place long enough that they're paying off for a whole generation of women who are in the work force and are becoming business leaders and great leaders in the nation."

Lynn Coutts, the softball coach at UMaine, used to joke with her male classmates a lot when she played softball for the Black Bears. She would tell them, "I can't wait until you have daughters. You're going to want them to have the same opportunities you had."

Hogshead-Maker of the Women's Sports Foundation knows this is true.

"Who calls the Women's Sports Foundation overwhelmingly?" she asked. "Men with daughters, looking for help."

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:


Twitter: MikeLowePPH


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Additional Photos

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The women’s crew team at Connecticut College put tape over the school insignia on their uniforms in 2000 to protest what they considered unfair treatment. Portland employment law attorney Julia Pitney, then Julia Greenleaf, is fifth from left.

Courtesy Julia Pitney


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