Sports

Wilma Rudolph, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King: these iconic women athletes excelled in professional sports before 1972, when Title IX was passed into law, protecting people from being excluded from federal education programs on the basis of sex. Before Title IX, opportunities for women to play sports at school were limited. Since then, participation in sports has grown exponentially. Today there are several major women’s sports leagues in North America, including the Women’s National Basketball Association, the National Women’s Hockey League, and the National Women’s Soccer League.

Collection Objects

Historic photographs and objects reveal the stories of incredible women athletes in our collections

Videos

Smithsonian American Women book cover.

Smithsonian American Women

Remarkable objects and stories of strength, ingenuity, and vision from the National Collection.

Smithsonian American Women book cover.