Wednesday, October 19, 2022

An early Harvard report on women's athletics

 Harvard took over responsibility for women's athletics in 1974. Until then, such teams as existed were administered by Radcliffe College, then a legally independent entity. This transition was one of several steps that eventually (but not rapidly) led to the end of the asymmetric status of women students at Harvard.

In connection with the ongoing commemoration of Title IX (which was enacted into law at about the same time, but was not then seen as having much to do with women's athletic opportunities), I found this Position Statement on Nomenclature for Men's and Women's Teams at Harvard, written in 1983. While limited in scope, it is a masterpiece of logic and precision, and I post it here for the historical record since it does not seem to be readily available elsewhere. I had seen it years ago, but hadn't even remembered it until I was at a basketball game a few years ago in which the Harvard women's team was playing the TCU "Lady Horned Frogs"--the sort of diminutive this report outlawed at Harvard.

Among the notable things about the report is the professional distinction of the Faculty members who came up with it, and the lack of any political disproportion among those achieving consensus on what were even then politically fraught issues. It would be hard at Harvard today to assemble a committee that politically balanced--if you also expected that its members would come up with anything of significance.

No comments:

Post a Comment