Gender Equity in Sports & Title IX


This program examines the ways in which sports has provided a platform to illuminate, contest and advance the rights of all people – particularly those who have been marginalized because of their gender.  The historical events that we look at include World War II, women’s role in baseball, the passage of the anti-discrimination law Title IX and the famous “Battle of the Sexes” match won by tennis champion Billie Jean King.


Through hands-on activities and the use of technology, students will become familiar with such terms as Male Chauvinism, Sexism, Misogyny, Title IX, Feminism, Marginalized, Jim Crow laws and Womens’ Movement.


Students will:

  • Connect the history of women in baseball to women in baseball during World War II and the passing of Title IX.
  • Learn about trailblazing athletes like Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, the Williams sisters, among others.
  • Think critically about equity in sports with respect to gender and sexuality.

Part I – A Conversation: Outsiders in Sports, Women in Baseball, “The Battle of the Sexes” & Title IX


  • What is the connection between the rise of women’s baseball and U.S. involvement in World War II? (What happened to women in baseball after the war ended?)
  • Who is Billie Jean King and how is she famous as both an athlete and an activist?
  • What happened in the “Battle of the Sexes”? (What does “Chauvinism” mean?)
  • Define Title IX and describe how it changed sports for women and girls.

Part II –  Obstacle Box Activity

Students are divided into two teams. Each team of approximately 10 participants must complete each of EIGHT obstacles, ranging in difficulty. (Museum educators demonstrate obstacles, which are accessible to students of all abilities, age 8 and up.)

The obstacles are:

1)   Do 8 jumping jacks

2)   Hula hoop 8 rotations

3)   Hop on one foot over an 8-foot long line of tape

4)   Find all four 8’s in a giant deck of cards 

5)   Set giant dice in one of 3 possible sums of 8

6)   Attach 8 rubber bands to a bat

7)   One player puts on the catcher’s mitt and throws a ball to each other team member, completing at least (8 throws)

8)   Answer one trivia question* from the hat as a team, high five your teacher, and sit down!

The first team to complete the Obstacle Box, high-five their teacher and sit, WINS!

*Trivia Questions:

  • Name 8 facts you remember about the Gender Equity slide show
  • Name 8 female athletes of any time – living, deceased, retired, currently playing, etc.
  • Name 8 women who inspire you
  • Name 8 sports women can play today
  • Define Title IX in your own words

What Teachers Are Saying

“This new exhibit & program [Billie Jean King] was a great connection/ lesson about sports and gender. I think it got ALL students engaged. (Not just the boys). Great job!”
– 7th Grade Teacher, Renaissance Middle School, Montclair

This program satisfies the NJ Department of Education requirements for the LGBT and Disabilities Law and the Diversity and Inclusion Law. Read more about these laws here.

NJ State Standards

D1.2.3-5. ELA, GRADE 5

Identify disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question that are open to different interpretations.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.