Millikin Celebrates Female Athletes


With the stands flooded with female athletes from every athletic team on campus, the Millikin women’s basketball team picked a great day for their first College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin victory.

On February 7, there was much more to celebrate than just a victory. Title IX, a law passed in 1972, was aimed at giving women equal opportunities in education. This also meant giving them access to the world of sports.

And for 32 years, the sporting world has celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Social media was flooded with girls displaying their love for their respective sports, not just from Millikin, but from all over the world.

Millikin head volleyball coach, Debbie Kiick, made heart shaped sugar cookies and invited all female athletes to stop by and eat one in celebration of women’s athletics.

Kiick is heavily involved with gaining more opportunities for females, and Millikin is home to 10 women’s sports teams.

At halftime of the women’s basketball game, they invited all current female athletes from the university to come down on the court and take a picture on the Big Blue M at center court.

In addition, they asked for every woman who has ever taken part in athletics to come be a part of the picture.

Title IX was not well-received by lots. One of the main misconceptions of the law was that because women were going to be gaining opportunities, men would be losing some in turn. In reality, it actually worked out better for both sexes,

The wording of the law merely states that institutions can not discriminate based on sex. And, it says that women and men must be given equal opportunities to participate.

Though Millikin offers plenty of opportunities for females, there are other schools for all ages, not just universities, that have not reached gender equality when it comes to sports. The goal of National Girls and Women in Sports Day is to help raise awareness and inspire people to advocate for change.

The Women’s Sports Foundation website has a 56 page guide to the four steps they think will help change gender equality in sports. But it takes persistence. Their second step involves calling, emailing, and writing letters. And most often times, it takes more than just one letter to make a change.

Billie Jean King created the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974 to help females get involved in sports.

Before Title IX, only one out of every 27 females participated in sports. According to The She Network, the number is closer to two in five now.

The Women’s Sports Foundation helps to fund aspiring athletes and athletic programs in addition to raising awareness for gender equity.

Millikin’s teams celebrated by attending the Women’s basketball game and cheering them on to victory against the North Central Cardinals. Their coaches also put up pictures of their players on social media, celebrating their successes as female athletes.

There is much to be celebrated when it comes to female athletics at Millikin. Our softball team went undefeated on their brand new, state of the art field in the regular season in 2017. They just started practice for the 2018 season and are looking to repeat their successes.

The volleyball team has been dominant forever, but their recent successes include making it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament two years ago and winning three straight conference championships.

In track, many of the women have earned themselves spots on the top ten lists in all events, and the season has just begun.

And lastly, the only National Championship in Millikin School history belongs to Lori Kerans and the women’s basketball team, won in 2005.

While some females may take for granted the plenitude of opportunities they have when it comes to athletics, celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day served as a good reminder to females everywhere how things used to be and how things could be if we keep advocating for change.