Because of Title IX: Lori Hendricks

Director of Athletics, Mount Holyoke College

Finish this sentence: “Because of Title IX..."

I see my niece participating in youth sports and being taken seriously as an athlete. Her brother thinks it is totally normal and cool for girls to play sports. He even expects some girls to be better athletes than him.

How have the athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life? Can you imagine your life without them?

I cannot imagine my life without it! I am a Title IX baby, so the benefits of Title IX weren't fully realized as a young adult. There were only a handful of sports offered for girls in high school. If I needed my ankle taped, I had to sit outside the boys' locker room and wait for the coach to get done with all the boys in their locker room first. I remember a cross country race where I fell halfway through the race. It's the only time I cried during a race. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I fell to the ground in pain. The official said, "Get up and walk off the cramps." Two boys who had fallen in their races were carried off the course and had immediate medical treatment for scrapes. When my dad took me to the hospital, I learned that I had broken my ankle. Title IX helped me to appreciate that the treatment I received as a high school athlete wasn't fair or okay. I am committed to making sure that all athletes are taken seriously and provided the opportunities to compete.

Tell us about a woman who championed you in pursuing your goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?

I have been fortunate with so many wonderful mentors in my life. Janet Justus was my first boss. She organized the NCAA Title IX Seminars and taught me a great deal about the law. She also instilled in me a respect for the law and what it can do to support issues of equity.

How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness on the importance Title IX?

I actively mentor young people, helping them to find the intersection of their passion and skill sets. We share stories of our athletic experiences. I remind them of the changes that have been made, but also point out inequities that still exist.

If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?

One must be informed and engaged in the politics of this country and world. Those who saw the opportunity for Title IX changed perceptions and the reality for future generations. It's hard work that is worth our greatest effort.

See all our #BecauseofTitleIX stories here! »
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