Kicking it

schultzThe Women’s World Cup reached its conclusion over the weekend. The U.S. team rained early goals on Japan and emerged with a 5-2 victory to win its first Cup since the triumph of the now-iconic 1999 team.

Perhaps as noteworthy was the attention given to the U.S. squad this time around. Despite baseball season being in full swing, the media devoted substantial airtime, pixels, and column inches to the tournament in general and the American women in particular. TV ratings, meanwhile, reached all-time highs that put the game on equal footing with the deciding contest in last season’s baseball World Series.

Not bad for a women’s event that, prior to 1999, received next to no attention in the U.S. What led to this sea change?

Let some of our UIP titles answer that question for you. Explore issues that range from Title IX to improved sports bras (hey, no joke, that was important) with acclaimed treatments of women in sports. In Qualifying Times, Jaime Schultz offers what one reviewer called “the next seminal work in the history of women’s sport” and challenges the reader to look at the historical and sociological significance of now-common items such as sports bras and tampons and ideas such as sex testing and competitive cheerleading.

Speaking of seminal works, how about the women’s sports book that defines the term? A new edition of Susan K. Cahn’s Coming On Strong hit shelves in the spring. Cahn updates her classic history of women’s sport and the struggles over gender, sexuality, race, class, and policy that have often defined it. A new chapter explores the impact of Title IX and how the opportunities and interest in sports it helped create reshaped women’s lives even as the legislation itself came under sustained attack.

Finally, let’s get seasonal and ponder women and our national pastime. In Stolen Bases, Jennifer Ring  Ring describes the circumstances that twice stole baseball from American girls: once in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and again in the late twentieth century, after it was no longer legal to exclude girls who wanted to play.