Title IX and Women’s History Month
Rory Dicker is director of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center and is a senior lecturer in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Department.
This year’s celebration of Women’s History Month at Vanderbilt will emphasize a significant milestone: 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of Title IX, legislation which paved the way for the increased participation of girls and women in sports at every level. On college campuses, Title IX has played a significant role not just in expanding women’s sports but in helping to address cases of sexual misconduct. The Women’s Center will highlight Title IX through several programs and events:
• On Thursday, March 3, at 4:00 p.m., Judy Wu and Gwendolyn Mink will give a virtual talk about Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color in Congress and one of the champions of Title IX. Wu and Mink are the authors of a new biography of Mink.
• On Thursday, March 17, at 7:00 p.m., the ultrarunner Mirna Valerio will give a virtual talk based on her memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress. Valerio’s work centers her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner athletes.
• On Tuesday, March 22, at 12:15 p.m., Cara Tuttle Bell, director of the Project Safe Center, will give a talk called “Gender Equity on Campus: The History of Title IX.” This event is in-person.
• On Monday, March 28, at 5:00 p.m., there will be a virtual panel discussion of LFG, an HBO Max documentary about the U.S. women’s soccer team’s fight for equal pay. Free access to the film will be available in the week leading up to the panel discussion.
One of the highlights of this year’s celebration of Women’s History Month will be the unveiling of the Women at Vanderbilt Portrait Project. This project provides visual representation of a variety of women who have made a significant impact throughout Vanderbilt’s history. Although the portraits will be unveiled on March 14, people are welcome to stop by the Women’s Center to see them at any time thereafter.
Two of the women honored with a portrait have strong connections to Vanderbilt athletics. The first is Stella Vaughn, who grew up in the Vaughn Home, where the offices of the Robert Penn Warren Center are now located. “Miss Stella,” as she came to be known, graduated from Vanderbilt in 1896 and organized the university’s first women’s basketball team and served as its coach for 20 years. The second is Candice Storey Lee, the first woman to serve as Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Athletic Director, as well as the first Black woman to head an SEC athletics program. Lee is a “Triple ‘Dore,” having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human and organizational development; a master’s degree in counseling; and a Doctor of Education in higher education administration from Peabody.