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Benching the patriarchy: 50 years of Title IX and how 4 women fought for change

There’s a glass case in a hallway at the University of Oregon that looks like it should be in a museum. The case sits in the university’s state-of-the-art basketball arena and holds an exhibit of women’s shoes.

Basketball shoes.

Kelly Graves, the current women’s basketball head coach, proudly points to one of them — white, with wings on the back heels, and chartreuse neon trim.

“It’s the first shoe Nike ever made specifically for one women’s basketball team,” he says. “They made that for us our Final Four year.”

It’s a stylish looking shoe, but it’s also something more — a symbol of the hard-fought movement for gender equity in women’s sports.

The University of Oregon’s (UO) women’s basketball team is good, really good.

Under coach Graves, they’ve won the Pac-12 title three times. In 2019, they made it to the Final Four of the NCAA championships.

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