More Than a Game: One Woman's Fight for Gender Equity in Sport
Contrary to rumors on campus and in the local press, Cynthia Pemberton did not set out in 1992 to destroy the long-honored football team of Linfield College, a small liberal arts school in Oregon. Instead, the Assistant Athletic Director for Women's Sports wanted to make athletic opportunities equally available to both women and men-simply to make the college comply with the law. Her six-year crusade for full implementation of Title IX made headlines across the nation. Here is Pemberton's autobiographical account of what would become the ordeal of her life.
When Pemberton first arrived at Linfield in 1989, she accepted the logic that the more lucrative men's sports earned male players preferential treatment. Men's teams were outfitted at the college's expense, but Pemberton began noticing that the women often had to buy their own equipment and shape their practice and facility use schedules around the men's sports. Also, scant resources were available for the recruiting and coaching of women athletes. It became clear that their success would always be limited unless policies changed.
The author recounts her steps in prodding Linfield to gender awareness and then to justice. For six years, Pemberton endured harassment from her supervisor, attempts to derail her professional development, and smear campaigns in local newspapers, while her supporters on campus faced intimidation. She had come to the brink of financial ruin and psychological exhaustion by the time her lawsuit against the college was settled.
The struggle for gender equity in sport is far from over, but Pemberton leaves a legacy for women athletes, their coaches, and school administrators. Her book conveys bold determination and is rich with insights into the workings of the legal system and academic bureaucracy. It will enlighten anyone who pursues educational and social change -- and teach a new generation of women not to take their rights for granted.
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