By Emily Zambarano
This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, 37 words that changed history – and women’s sports – for the better. Emily Zambarano sat down with Danielle Malpica, a second-year student and women’s lacrosse player at Springfield College, to hear how Title IX has impacted her life, if she has ever faced gender inequality on the playing field and what advice she would give girls who feel like their sports are not getting enough support.
Q: What does Title IX mean to you?
Malpica: To me, Title IX means equality for everyone in every aspect of school – whether it’s in education, sports or clubs.
Q: Have you ever faced gender inequality?
Malpica: At my high school (Long Island Lutheran in Glen Head, N.Y.), it was very easy to tell that there was a bigger priority for men’s sports than female sports when it came to funding, field time, food and support.
Q: How did this impact you as a female athlete in high school?
Malpica: This impacted me because whenever I was in a sport we got lower priority when it came to field space, so we always had half-practices. which kept our women’s team from having progress. And we almost had no support from the school during games. It was really hard, watching everyone show up to the men’s sports and never having any school spirit on our sideline.
Q: Do you feel your high school is better now? Or is it still struggling with gender
Malpica: Sadly, my school is still where it was when I was there. The men’s teams get new gear every year, half paid for already, while women’s teams are wearing jerseys that are five- to-10 years old. They get less attention when looking for coaches and still are fighting for field space.
Q: Do you feel the positive impact of Title IX at Springfield College?
Malpica: Yes, the struggles I faced with women’s vs. men’s teams in high school aren’t even relevant here. [At Springfield College] I know that I always have a place to practice, and all the teams are treated and funded fairly.
Q: If you had to give a young girl who was facing gender inequality a piece of advice, what would it be?
Malpica: Be confident. Speak out when something doesn’t feel right. Go to those head coaches, go to the athletic directors. I didn’t start to stand up for my team until I was a senior because I was nervous of backlash that I might face. My advice: Start sooner. I wished I did. Equality should never be an inconvenience.