ESPN’s network for women’s sports, espnW, celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX in style Thursday night, welcoming women athletes and their supporters to the Newseum for the unveiling of a photo mosaic project. A video tribute to the largest-ever photo collection of women and girls’ sports images was projected onto the Newseum’s 74-foot high First Amendment tablet, delivering a statement about the opportunity to play as an expression of freedom for women.
“Title IX enabled women to exercise their fundamental rights,” said Newseum CEO Jim Duff prior to the event. “That truth is going to be vividly displayed tonight.”
The mosaic includes photos of more than 3,000 female athletes of all abilities and achievement levels, ranging from small children to honorees from espnW’s Top 40 Athletes of the Past 40 Years. Photos were submitted online, along with quotes from women describing what Title IX has meant to them. Guests described watching the mosaic tribute as extremely moving, particularly for older guests who remember days when women and girls struggled to find support for participating in sports.
“It’s a wonderful expression via social media of the power of sports,” said espnW Vice President Laura Gentile.
The Newseum event marked the culmination of a long day of activity for espnW here in DC. In the morning, the network announced a partnership with the US State Department to launch a global mentorship program enabling young women to come to the US and learn best practices for promoting sports among women in their home countries. In the afternoon, espnW partnered with Women in Cable Television and the Women in Sports Foundation to honor former high school and college athletes who have made a significant impact on society.
Gentile said that DC and the Newseum were a natural fit for espnW’s event. “We wanted to do something in DC, just in terms of the passage of Title IX and how important it was that Congress embraced this and it became law… The Newseum just has a tremendous reputation, and the first amendment wall presented an opportunity for us to really demonstrate the photo mosaic in all its glory.”
Read espnW’s coverage around the anniversary of Title IX at its dedicated microsite, “The Power of IX.”