Audioburst Search

S5E4: Too Strong for a Woman


The threat is proud to be sponsored by IBM the world needs a technology company that applies smart technologies at scale with purpose and expertise, not just for some, but for all, let's expect more from technology. Let's put smart to work. Visit IBM dot com slash smart. To learn more. This season on the thread, we began in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California with one of the most iconic moments in sports history. Is it a continuous rooms in casino? State says, but so much lit up to that moment when the nine hundred ninety nine US women's soccer team hoisted the World Cup trophy long before the ninety-niners took the country by storm the members of the first national team in nineteen eighty-five were just trying to keep up with the rest of the soccer playing world. We had to fight for every moment and every opportunity in a match. It was definitely harder than anyone could have every inch his abated. The first members of the women's national team played for little pay and even less recognition, they were just happy to have the chance to play the game. They loved something that the female athletes who came before them had not enjoyed in America, that can my day in high school, which I know is a difficult concept for younger women to understand right now. But there were no teams for girls. There are no sports teams for girls in my high school then in nineteen seventy two. Thanks to a law called title nine that banned sex discrimination in education. Everything started to change the doors gradually begin to open as people begin to talk about equal opportunity for girls and women, and including women in sports, once these stores, open women just charge through, but just charging through is not enough. Many institutions in America were elected to put women on a level playing field with their male peers. Especially when it came to sports, then an unforgettable protests from the members of the Yale women's crew team, caught the attention of the country they at title, nine and blue marker on breasts and Bax, and they dropped trout title nine the law that the Yale women wanted enforced was far from inevitable. It came into being because of the efforts of several key players off the field to get a Bill that banned sex discrimination past was an incredible feat, one that required not just political muscle and persistence. But a whole lot of strategy subtlety and smarts. Pinkney pirates. Why he need were making way generation comes up paying the Sandler points though. Way he. Let us play. Play us play. I'm Shaun breslin, welcome to the threat a podcast from AUSSIE. When Bernice Sandler died in January twenty nineteen at the age of ninety she was fondly remembered as the godmother of title nine, and she deserved that title without Sandler's efforts. The landmark law would never have gotten off the ground. My mother was unbelievably bright. This is Deborah Sandler, one of Bernice Sandler daughters. She actually went by bunny that was her nickname. So I'll probably refer to her as bunny when I talk about her in this bunny Sandler was born in nineteen twenty eight in New York, the daughter of Jewish immigrants. They were fairly traditional and a lot of ways. So, you know, my mother kind of grew up thinking that she would, you know, get married, as one does and have children as one does and bunny Sandler did is one does she got married and she had two children. And then once her daughters were teenagers. She did something a bit more unconventional for women of her time. She went to school. School and decided she was going to be a psychologist or therapist, so she got a doctorate in counseling and did extremely well in school at the age of forty one doctor bunny Sandler started to apply for teaching positions. She had an impeccable resume a masters degree from City College in New York, a doctorate from the university of Maryland. And it just so happened that there were seven open positions at Maryland, a place, she had already been teaching as a graduate student Sandler was turned down for all seven of the positions. She was told you don't really need this job because you have a husband, supporting you and she was told, you know, you've been out of work too long, because you were home raising children. So you're not really right for this job. The frustrated Sandler went looking for more answers. This is the late bunny. Sandler in twenty twelve interview talking about what happened next? So I went and asked one of my friends on the faculty without missing a beat. He said, well, let's face it, you come onto strong for a woman. And I went home, and I cried. And my then husband was really very good. He said, otheir strongmen, and the department and I said, yes, and he said, then it's not you with sex the nation and it took me a while to realize that's what it was. And then I got mad. University of Maryland, picked the wrong woman to piss off. Deborah sandler. Again, my mother was a bad ass. She had, I think a sense of righteous outrage whenever something was just not just when something wasn't fair bunny. Sandler sense of Justice began in school when she was a young girl. The boys got to do things like clap, the erasers to get the chalk dust out the girls were not allowed to do that. And she complained about that Sandler's outraged in stop, when she got older after she was rejected for the teaching positions, Maryland Sandler started to do what she did best research. She assumed that since sex discrimination was wrong. It would also be a legal. She was mistaken at the time in nineteen sixty nine there were no laws banning sex discrimination in education, but Sandler found something almost as good as a law, she was looking at an executive order and saw that the word sex was in there and just literally cried out loud with discovery and the light. It was executive order. One one, two, four six to be precise signed by president Lyndon Baines Johnson in nineteen sixty eight the order banned federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of race color, religion, national origin, and sex, an actual ban on sex discrimination, Sandler couldn't believe it. And because colleges receive federal funds, the president's executive order also applied to them. It was just an American colleges weren't obeying it. But in order to bring a legal action to hold the schools accountable bunny Sandler needed examples of sex discrimination to prove her case, lots of examples, so she put her research skills to work, and she began to talk to other women at the university of Maryland where she had gone about their experiences. Karen, Blumenthal is a journalist and author of let me play the story of title nine the law that changed the future of girls in America. She began to expand her research and talked to women all around the country, who had earned advanced degrees and then found themselves shut out in the workplace Sam. Compiled a lengthy report, documenting sex-discrimination in college. Hiring pay financial aid in more, then she started filing complaints against colleges with the US department of Justice, Sandler charged colleges with violating executive order one one two four six she filed complaints against every college in university in the country, more than two hundred fifty and total. She didn't stop there. She sent copies of the eighty page complaint to newspapers and other media outlets then she has several hundred copies printed, and she sends them to every congressional office. One of the members of congress who received a copy of bunny, Sandler's complaint was Edith green a congresswoman from Oregon. It was a kind of for two. It is meeting of the two and she begins to work for Edith, green and helped provide information of four her bunny Sandler's, exhaustive research had put every college in the country on the hot seat now with the help of Edith green her efforts were about to change the law itself than help level. The playing field for millions of American women. With summer approaching make health and wellness a priority. Get care of makes it easy to upgrade your health routine. Whether you're looking for energy, better sleep or something else to help you feel your healthiest care of fun online quiz. Ask you about your diet, health goals, and lifestyle choices. I did it myself. It only took five minutes, and I found out my personal, scientifically backed vitamin and supplement recommendations care of delivers daily vitamin supplement packs, all customized to your recommendations. So you're only taking what you really need depending on your personalized care of plan. You'll get daily vitamin packs and or protein powder, sent right to your door, and you can modify your subscription at anytime when your needs or preferences change. Plus, the individually wrapped vitamin packets are now made from composites plant based film. So you're vitamins are kept fresh while now being better for the environment. For twenty five percent off your first care of order. Go to take care of dot com and. Inter thread. That's take care of dot com and enter the promo code threat. He just green was a Democratic Congress person from Oregon, and she was first elected in nineteen fifty five Susan wears a historian and author of game set match Billie Jean King, and the revolution in women's sports, to be a woman, and to get elected to congress in the midst of an era, we think of as just the height of domesticity. That's quite an accomplishment, green. Former teacher helped create the first community colleges. She helped fund new libraries in rural areas people in Washington started to call her missus education. Then green started to realize there was something more she could do for American education, and for women author, Karen Blumenthal. So in the nineteen sixties eighth green is holding hearings in listening to some superintendents talk about programs. They had to keep boys from dropping out of high school, and she's listening to them. And she says, wait a minute. Did I hear you say you? You had programs only for boys to keep them from dropping out of high school, and they said, oh, yes. And she said, well what about girls? And they said, oh, well, you know, they don't really need high school degrees. They're just going to become housewives and mothers. And this was shocking to her. She couldn't imagine that this was legal. Green started to focus her attention on how women and girls were treated differently in education, Susan wear, again, back in nineteen seventy. There were a lot of people who literally did not believe that there was such a thing as sex discrimination in higher education, and they needed to be shown that this was, in fact, a problem. But the show her fellow members of congress. The problem green needed evidence, inter bunny Sandler, Sandler provided green with the data. She had gathered on sex discrimination. She supplied the names of dozens of witnesses who could testify to that discrimination in the summer of nineteen seventy Edith green called the first congressional subcommittee hearings to address the issue the congressional hearings were such a good place to do this to gather all this information, so it couldn't be dismissed as that's just one anecdote or that's just one incident to build the pattern to really show, people that this was in. Fact, a serious issue for seven days. Green solicited. Testimony about how women were being denied opportunities on campuses across the country, from admissions to employment, for example, at the time, most American law schools and medical schools. Limited women to less than ten percent of their student bodies and even those women who did in graduate degrees, found it nearly impossible to get jobs. Green found such facts, stonning, and of course, her point behind. It is saying to them. Look at all the wasted woman power. All these women who have these graduate degrees, or who wanna have professional careers who aren't being hired. Why are we giving them a chance green invited college administrators to testify on the issue of sex discrimination? No one accepted, her invitation. No newspapers covered the hearings, and no one really paid attention. But green had her evidence now came the hard part getting a Bill banning sex discrimination through a nearly all male congress that did not. Think sex discrimination was a problem. Eith- green was up for the challenge. She knew that a larger higher education Bill was about to come before the house education committee that dealt with issues like financial aid in school, busing green seized the opportunity, Karen Blumenthal, Edith, green was a strategist she knew that you had to work the system. Well. And she saw an opportunity to get into this higher education act in men -ment that would outlaw discrimination against women. And so green went to work, she waits until the whole full house committee on education is together to propose this amendment to outlaw sex discrimination in education. And she does it because she has some great allies in this committee, including Shirley Chisholm the first African American woman in congress. Patsy mink, the first woman of color in congress and some other supporters. Not everyone in the house committee was receptive to the need to address sex discrimination. The men in the committee who were most of the members of the. Committee think this is hilarious. It just seems absurd to them. I mean, of course, women should go to school, but they shouldn't go to Harvard and one of them gets very tickled at the idea that you might have males stewardesses after the laughter died down. A majority of the committee's thirty five members approve the Bill, including title, nine, the next battleground, was the full house of representatives supporters of the women's rights movement and greens, allies. In congress asked her what they could do to help get the Bill passed. She advised them to do nothing. Green told them, nobody knows what's in this Bill. If you start asking questions lobbying for it, they're going to ask questions, Susan where they didn't want to draw too much attention to it in some ways, it was better tactic to just include some of these writers pieces of legislation and then have people vote on them, and really not engaged too much about what they might actually do the house started to consider the education, Bill for. Days. Members of congress debated the hot button issues like school, busing and the question of sexist cremation, flew under the radar, then a powerful constituency took notice of title nine Karen Blumenthal, and it turns out that there are some people in the US who were opposed to it. And those are namely the Ivy league universities. Harvard Princeton, Yale, all of them are aghast at this idea that now if this law passes, they may have to accept women the Ivy league schools weren't the only ones opposed to title mine. The new at times when it was being debated in the house, actually ran an editorial where they oppose this amendment saying, you know, men and women have different needs and ambitions green, eventually, gave in she agreed to support an amendment to address the Ivy leagues concerns with the Bill and their compromise, is that they will outlaw sex discrimination at public schools, including in the admissions of undergraduates, but not at private schools, like Harvard and Yale and Notre. Dame and even today in the fine print on the application to any of those schools, there is a little disclaimer. This undergraduate admissions are not covered under title nine of the higher education act of nineteen seventy-two under the law, they still can make decisions based on gender. You heard correctly Ivy league colleges lobbied, congress to let them discriminate against women, and they succeeded green lost that battle. But she knew that she could still win the war. The slimmed-down title nine path the house, he was time now for a second showdown in the US Senate. And it was in the Senate that the subject of women's sports came up for the first time. Once the house approved title nine it was time for the US Senate to consider it thus far the subject of sports had not come out in the discussions of the Bill. This was partly by design Edith green knew what she was doing. Green had been very careful not to make sports part of the debate over title nine in the house committee hearings. She knew the subject might end up over shadowing. The broader intent of the Bill historian, Susan wear one thing, that's important to remember about title nine is it wasn't originally about women's athletics. It was about the general discrimination, that women faced in higher education, author, Karen Blumenthal, in the Senate. This issue is taken up by Senator Birch by from Indiana, at the time or at least part of this time, there was only one woman in the Senate. I've had young people say to me, well, what did the women in the Senate say, well, there was one Birch by who died in March twenty nineteen played a key role entitled nines. Passage, the liberal, Senator from. Indiana was a crusader for equal rights and expanding access and education. This is by a nineteen sixty-nine injury. I think we need to make educational opportunity able for more and more people, we need to give the young people who are state, the best education. We can't in Birch by was one of the few male senators at the time that included women in such pronouncements, it was in the Senate debate on title nine, the issue of college sports finally came up. It started when Senator by was questioned by his collie Senator Peter Dominick of Colorado. Dominic wanted to know how broad the ban on sex discrimination in colleges would be would locker rooms and dormitories now have to go co Ed by was quick to reassure his colleague. No, he makes clear. This is not about locker rooms. It's not about co Ed dormitories, then, somebody says, well, you know is this going to allow girls to play football? And again, there's laughter because again, that's hilarious. And by assures them that no, this is not intended to, you know allow girls to play. Football too, which Senator Dominick jokingly replied, if I may say, so I would have had much more fun playing college football, if it had been integrated more chuckles, ensued from the Senate gallery. And that was it. And so that's really the only discussion of sports and all the debate in the house. And in the Senate. This one little exchange about locker rooms and football. The Senate voted to pass the Bill including title nine it was time to make history. That's next on the thread. Osce Festus back. Join Ozzy New York central park, July twentieth and twenty first where some the biggest names in boldest thinkers from John legend, and Trevor Noah to Stacey Abrams, Malcolm glad well will help make this year's Ozzy fest, the most memorable yet, go to Ozzy fest dot com. That's osy. Y F, E S, T dot com to get your tickets. Title nine was signed into law by president Richard Nixon on June. Twenty third nineteen seventy two it was a truly historic piece of legislation, but nobody really noticed author Karen Blumenthal, and it got almost no attention align here. Maybe a secondary story inside there. So people were hardly aware that there was this amendment, in this huge education, Bill that outlawed discrimination based on sex the next day, the New York Times, devoted just one sentence to the part of the Bill that outlawed sex-discrimination, a single bullet point that read simply the Bill would take federal assistance away from any graduate, school, or public undergraduate college that discriminated against women in its admissions. Policies historian Susan wear. It was just another piece of legislation not unworthy, but not really all that noteworthy, plus another development in the nation's. Capital was starting to dominate the news, I'm always struck by the fact that the actual title, nine legislation was signed into law by president Richard Nixon, one week after the Watergate burglary that would eventually topple his presidency. So a lot was going on in Washington in June of nineteen seventy-two few people might have noticed that the time, but thanks to title nine a new era in America had begun. And today, nearly half a century later, it is impossible, not to notice the impact of the law, and of its proponents, like bunny Sandler, Sandler became known as the godmother of title nine, she continued to fight against sex discrimination, long after title nine was on the books historian, Susan wear. She made a career out of something that didn't even exist when she first started, but it was a perfect match to her talents. Both in terms of. Conceptualizing an issue gathering data and then trying to see a pragmatic way forward with legislation and political persuasion, to try and change. That situation, it was a profession that required a balance between dogged determination and civility again bunny. Sandler's daughter, Deborah. She was never one of those people who'd be out in the streets screaming at people she that would just wasn't her style. You know, she really believed in being civilized, and polite and working within the system. Sandler also demonstrated plenty of persistence over the years. At one point, she was supposed to go, I think to Michigan to give a speech and she said to the woman who had arranged for it. Well, I don't fly. What's the train schedule? Because my mother at the time was afraid of flying and the woman said to her girly, you get on that plane, or get the hell out of the movement. She just well, okay. I'm gonna have to learn how not to be scared of planes. So she got on the plane, and she eventually became a million mile flyer with United Airlines with all the business travels, she did and got totally comfortable with flying Sandler gave more than three thousand presentations across the country, including many at the colleges, she had once filed suit against and she continued to advocate for women's rights and social Justice. Right up until her death. Sandler never anticipated. When she first started when an impact her work would have, including on the world of sports. I know that she was surprised in utterly. Delighted over the years to see all the expanding opportunities for girls and women in sports as a result of title nine in twenty twelve on the fortieth anniversary of title nine Sandler was honored all over the country. The university of Louisville had a special celebration during halftime of pecked basketball game. Sandler was presented with flowers and a plaque and half court and then she was given something even more special. Dr sandler. Lastly here to thank you in person. The captains are joined by their distinguished alumni and current teammates. Please one after another the captains of the women's sports teams that Louisville walk onto the basketball court team captain, Katie McDonald and the women of soccer team captain Aaron Conrad and the women of field hockey each captain, walks up to Sam gives her a hug and presents her with a t shirt. He's, we are the notes of your symphony the thirteen shirts from our captains bear, the name of every woman that ever played at the university of Louisville your impact is unparalleled and it lives on and on. In Sandler impact than that of title nine has gone far beyond sports. Here's Sandler again in twenty twelve interview, I think the real surprise has been that it's been like a social revolution in. We didn't know that at the beginning, we thought it was just a little bit discrimination here and there, but it's a social revolution that will have as much impact as the industrial revolution in the reach of that revolution continues to be felt Sandler's daughter. Deborah is now a family lawyer in California. It's possible I would not have ended up a lawyer if it was not for my mother, because what are the things that happened with title? Nine is that there was an opening of opportunities for women and girls all over the place? You know, when I was a little girl girls, weren't lawyers that didn't happen by the time I decided, I was going to go to law school, thirty or forty percent of my graduating class where women Sandler's efforts changed the composition of college campuses, and workplaces. They gave millions. Girls and women the chance to play organized sports. She always said to herself when she was a little girl, you know. And, and later, also, she always said, I wanted to change the world. And as she got older was looking back on her life. She said, I always wanted to change the world and I did. The women behind title nine like bunny, Sandler and Edith. Green could not have changed the world without another trailblazer working behind the scenes. I am radical to the extent that I want to see the individual human being as free is possible to, to fulfill that individual human beings. Potential, Dr Pauli Murray was a civil rights leader. Well ahead of her time Murray realized early on. She was different from most other people, she met she was mixed race. She was transgender it was often hard for her to find acceptance. But I think one of the great things about Pauli Murray is that while she could easily have been crushed by all of the rejection that she met she turned this sense of being in between into one of the most important ideas of the twentieth century Pauli Murray knew that it was just as wrong to discriminate against someone because of. Their sex as it was to do so because of their race. So she set out to change, how lawyers and the law thought about sex discrimination, and Dr Murray's unheralded efforts paved, the way for title nine and so much more than we take for granted today. When I always say is while she might not have been a woman of her time she is certainly a woman of our time. Play. Thread is produced by Robert Kuo's, Shannon Williamson and me Shaun. Breslin, Evan Roberts engineered our show this episode features the song lettuce play Britain performed by teacup chip. You can hear more of their songs, teacup, Jin dot com. Learn more about the thread, visit Ozzy dot com slash the threat all one word and make sure to subscribe to the threat on apple podcasts all on iheartradio. Or listen, wherever you get your podcast.

Coming up next