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Female Gladiators examines the legal and social history of the right of women to participate with men in contact sports. The impetus to begin legal proceedings was the 1972 enactment of Title IX, which prohibited discrimination in educational settings, but it was the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the equal rights amendments of state constitutions that ultimately opened doors. Despite court rulings, however, many in American society resisted--and continue to resist--allowing girls in dugouts and other spaces traditionally defined as male territories. When the leagues continued to bar girls simply because they were not boys, the girls went to court. Sarah K. Fields examines the legal and cultural conflicts over gender and contact sports that continue to rage today.
How school-aged girls used the legal system to gain access to contact sports
Sarah K. Fields, an assistant professor in Sport Humanities at The Ohio State University, was the only girl on a second-grade soccer team in St. Louis, Missouri. Contact sports continue to be a major part of her life.
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