Homewood-Flossmoor High School girls wrestling team makes history despite gender inequalities

ByDionne Miller via WLS logo
Friday, May 13, 2022
Girls' wrestling team makes history, seeks to even playing field
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Homewood Flossmoor High School's girls' wrestling team recently made history - despite inequalities that still remain 50 years after Title IX.

CHICAGO -- Women in sports are supposed to get the same opportunities and resources as men.

But 50 years after the passage of Title IX - civil rights law that requires equal opportunities for men and women at institutions receiving federal funding - there is still a lot to be done both nationally and locally.

Despite those hurdles and obstacles, a group of local high school athletes recently made history in the state wrestling tournament.

RELATED: Title IX: Explaining the landmark civil rights law that codified gender equity in sports and beyond

At the first-ever Illinois girls high school state wrestling tournament in February, Homewood Flossmoor had 8 qualifiers - six of them first-time wrestlers, and six of them female.

"That was actually really big for me," sophomore Jocelyn Williams said, "because I'm big on women are better than men, no offense. I was just excited that we had an opportunity to get some spotlight."

"The fact that they took this level of thinking and planning just for girls to be able to wrestle," sophomore Ini Odumosu said. "I was just shocked, amazed and happy that they actually went that far for us."

"This is a culture," Coach Scott Aronson said. "They are positive with each other, they support each other. They feel each other's pain, they celebrate each other's victories. It's unbelievable. I've never been a part of that."

RELATED: Title IX paved the way for Sterling High girls' basketball team's historic 1st championship win

Aronson recognizes the growing popularity of wrestling among high school girls, but also sees the inequalities that remain.

Analysis by the ABC7 Data Team finds that 50 years after Title IX, things are not 50/50. In Illinois alone, 50,000 more high school boys participate in sports than girls.

"A lot of these tournaments for the girls, we don't have bracket boards yet," Aronson said. "They're not putting the same funding into the girls as they are the boys... They didn't keep team score in our sectional, and so, there was no sectional winner, there was no team trophy. Boys get that."

RELATED | 'Steps in the right direction': How Title IX changed the game for women in sports 50 years later

It's a sign of where things stand. After 50 years of Title IX, there's still a push to level the playing field.

"We still have a long, long way to go for gender equality in this country in so many different areas including sports," Depaul Women's Basketball Coach Doug Bruno said.

"But there's not Title IX police running around the country to enforce it," 1979 high school basketball state champion Missy Isaacson said. "There are still lawsuits, there is still a lack of compliance. There is still a huge shortage of women administrators, athletic directors. That's not against Title IX, but it's a reflection of things we still have to work on."

"This notion of Title IX on the basis of sex is always going to be a fight that we're going to have to fight," 1979 high school basketball state champion Amy Eshleman said.

Check out abc7chicago.com/fifty50 where you will find a growing collection of stories from our sister stations and Localish celebrating women and girls as we commemorate 50 years of Title IX and the push for gender equity. You can also learn more about the history of the law.