In 2014, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History deemed all our old historical files important enough to add to their archives. The growing number of women participating in sports showed how Title IX and the sports bra had worked together to change the game for young athletic women:
Subsequent to Title IX, women and girls have become much more involved in sports. College women’s athletic participation has increased from 15% in 1972 to 43% in 2001. High school girl’s athletic participation increased from 295,000 in 1971 to 2.8 million in 2002-2003, an increase of over 840%. In 2004, the average number of teams offered for females per college/university was 8.32, up from 2.50 per school in 1972 (Carpenter & Acosta, 2005). In 1981-82, women’s championships became a part of the NCAA program. Today, the NCAA sponsors forty women’s championships, thirty-eight men’s championships, and three combined championships in all three of its divisions (NCAA, 2005).
“The Greatest Invention—Ever—In Running is the Sports Bra” was published by Runner’s World on August 30, 2018. Writer and runner Erin G. Ryan wrote this, most moving tribute:
As a woman, a feminist, and a runner, I find the sports bra fascinating and revolutionary. It’s a product that came about during the height of the culture wars then known as ‘women’s lib’—the movement in the 1960s and ’70s for equal rights and pay—and was actually designed for women’s comfort during an activity that makes us feel good, not to please the male gaze....
The sports bra has become much more than an undergarment—it’s a part of American culture.
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