Mitchell Reports | June 13, 2012
>>> it took only 37 words inside an education bill to give women their first chance for equality in sports. that section of the bill title nine was signed into law by president nixon 40 years ago this month. there is still a lot of room for improvement . tennis legend billie jean king , the first woman athlete to be honored with the presidential medal of freedom which was thrilling for all of us, joins us now. thank you very much. billie jean , what is left to do? i remember the battle of the sexes and you and bobby riggs and that was i guess 39, 40 years ago.
>> it will be 40 years next year. we'll be celebrating that next year. that was one year after title nine was passed.
>> it was galvanizing. you were the wimbledon champ and you took him on and he was trash talking all the way to defeat.
>> total trash talking but i'm always a big believer letting the racket do the talking. i knew it was about social change because what i really want to do by beating bobby riggs was starting to match the hearts and minds of people to the legislation of title nine, and i hope that it was a good kickoff because you know, in 1973 , we couldn't even get a credit card on our own without a guy signing for us or with us. so it was like oh, come on. it was amazing that all the things, we were making 59 cents on the dollar in 1973 . we've come a long way.
>> what were women making when you won wimbledon compared to the men?
>> i don't remember what we were making. i know in 1971 , i had to win 30 tournaments to win over $100,000. that was a big deal . i was the first woman athlete to do that in '71.
>> finally, we have the same money at the majors with the guys, which is good, because it sends a strong message. people always say it's about the money. it's not about the money. it's about the message, about the empowerment. that's what title nine's about. now we have 54% of women enrolled in colleges and universities and our job is to continue to provide opportunities. we have 1.3 million less opportunities, girls do, in high school to be in sports than boys. we still have a long way to go. but the important thing, the important thing is that we keep the girls in the game, particularly with obesity. i mean, i'm 68 years old now. i just got a couple years ago, got knee replacement because i was getting to where i couldn't even walk a block and my whole life was closing in on me. so health is huge in this country and i cannot tell you how important it is to keep exercising for our health, besides nutrition and other things. how are your joints? are you 100%?
>> not so great. still exercising too much, can't run the marathon any longer as much as i would love to. the fact is that title nine had an impact way beyond sports because in subsequent supreme court decisions , it affected women in employment, women 's access to other educational opportunities.
>> it wasn't about sports. the reason everybody thinks it's about sports, because we're so visible. that's why women in sports can do so much to change things. we can change the way people think about things. every single person 's an influencer. every single human being . but because we're visible, we have a wonderful blessing and opportunity to help because men and women are in this together. if a male has a daughter, i would hope he would want his sons and daughters to have the same opportunity. we must always continue to think about both genders as we do things, that both genders always have, both men and women always have equal opportunity . but the girls still are behind the guys in opportunities, particularly women coaches, for instance. under 50% of women are coaches of women 's collegiate teams, which is really terrible and for men's teams, we're under 3%. so we've got to keep girls in the game. we've got to keep people going. but it's important, too, that if you're a boomer and you're older, please take good care of yourself. i've had eight knee operations. i'm just lucky i've got good knees in me now. i had knee replacement and it's just changed my whole life. i'm back on the tennis court , i can walk forever. it's really important once you get to a certain age, whatever you're feeling, even young people are now getting replacements. they're finding they can continue to do whatever they want, running marathons, doing all kinds of things. i wish i had just done it earlier. you can go to rediscover.com and hear my whole story. i listened to people, they stop me in the street all the time. i'm just lucky i have these in me because they have lasted 30 years in the lab so i know these will probably outlive my life. which is really important. i just want to keep exercising and title nine, i'm very thankful, we're celebrating it. we will be celebrating it later on the hill. i want to thank you for all you've done to influence others, all the great things you've done. we are so indebted to you. i want to thank you.
>> and i to you. my gosh, you are the role model. thank you, billie jean . we will keep it up.
>> i loved your book, too.
>> thank you. thanks for the