2020 marks the 33rd year that National Women in Sports Day has taken place. Kingswood Oxford School has been celebrating this day annually for the past three years by hosting young girls from neighboring towns to participate in several athletic activities.
However, not many are aware that KO’s very own senior Mai Lin Pomp-Shine’s mother generated this national holiday and historic achievement.
The creation of this day stemmed from Title IX, which was a law that required public schools to offer equal opportunities to both boys and girls. Title IX focused on federal money, saying that if an institution receives federal money, then they cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.
In order for institutions to comply with Title IX, penalties needed to be established. Therefore, it was decided that if public schools did not create equal opportunities for females and males, then federal funds would be withdrawn. Despite this, many schools still have not abided, which is why it is still a battle today.
This is where Mai Lin’s mother Cathleen Pomp-Shine comes into play, as she was working in the senate in 1983, around the time Title IX was created.
In 1984, many universities were arguing that if they got federal funding for their science department, then only the science department would have to obey by the law and not the entire university. This supreme court case won.
However, this was not how the law was supposed to be interpreted and Ms. Pomp-Shine, who was working for Senator Bob Packwood, would not let it go down this way.
Packwood and Senator Kennedy argued against the idea that institutions only had to obey the law in one department of an entire university. They amended Title IX to make it clear that if a school gets public money, then the entire university must comply with the Title IX statute.
The law was finally restored to its original intent. At this point, Ms. Pomp-Shine wanted to take another stand specifically for girls in sports.
“One day I was sitting at my desk and I thought, ‘One thing that my parents agree on (who are different politically) is girls in sports, and who can argue with that?’” Mrs. Pomp-Shine said.
She then finalized her idea for National Girls in Sports Day to bring public attention to the discrimination occurring nation-wide.
Mrs. Pomp-Shine got together a lot of famous athletes and brought them to the senate to have a big press conference, so that senators would be pressured to pass the bill.
This was achieved and Bob Packwood even wrote a letter home to Mrs. Pomp-Shine’s parents explaining the amazing celebration day that Mrs. Pomp-Shine designed.
Packwood wrote, “She started it off with five senators playing squash against five women (all champions– they trashed each of us unmercifully), and it was followed by many well-known stars visiting different grade or high schools around the area, then a news conference”.
Evidently, Mrs. Pompshine’s actions in the 80’s culminated in a significant achievement that has now improved the lives of millions of girls in the nation.
More recently, Mrs. Pomp-Shine has talked about how she is so glad that she now has a daughter at KO. Mai-Lin is a stellar athlete and varsity squash player, and because of her mom’s work with Title IX, has been allowed to participate in so many sports.
It is obvious that Cathleen Pomp-Shine has not only changed history forever, but influenced the community of Kingswood Oxford to honor this day on the behalf of all females.
Thank you so much, Mrs. Pomp-shine, for your incredible work.