SEATTLE (AP) — Ginny Gilder wasn’t well versed on what Title IX meant until she was a freshman at Yale, competing for the rowing team and taking part in one of the most famous protests surrounding the law.
The co-owner of the WNBA's Seattle Storm was right in the middle of the “Yale Strip-In” in 1976 to protest inequities in the treatment of men and women rowers at the school.
“What happened for me personally, I always say ... the experience radicalized me,” Gilder said. “Because I grew up in New York City, Upper East Side. I was a Park Avenue, private school girl. I mean, you want to talk privilege, that would be me. So it was the first time I ever experienced discrimination.”
As Title IX marks its 50th anniversary this year, Gilder is one of countless women who benefited from the enactment and execution of the law and translated those opportunities into becoming leaders in their professional careers.
Participating in that demonstration ignited a drive in Gilder. It helped propel her to become an Olympic silver medalist in rowing at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. It helped her build a successful business career as an investor and philanthropist. It also helped Gilder accept her sexuality in the late 1990s.
She is now part of the ownership group that purchased the Storm in 2008 and kept the franchise stable in its hometown.
“I think a lot of what I learned in the business world is you got to go for what you want, and not what you want, like in a personal way, but in terms of what your vision is for the world and for the change you want to make,” Gilder said. “And certainly that was an experience that I learned from becoming an athlete.
“But it really was an experience I learned from that protest," Gilder added. “That you got to push if you’re not happy, you’re not...