A step in the door for female reporters

On September 26, 1978, NY District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley made a ruling allowing female sports reporters to enter male locker rooms.

Many female reporters wanted an equal opportunity when it came to getting the best stories with the best quotes, but their inability to get into the locker room prevented them from getting immediate reactions to events. While some locker rooms remain closed to all reporters, there are many accessible to both male and female reporters to give all news outlets equal access to stories. The issue was taken on across the country and eventually it became permissible for women to go into the men’s locker room as well as their male counterparts being able to go into the women’s locker room.  The issue was not only getting equal access to a story.

Some women missed big deadlines due to the lack of an ability to enter the locker room to get the information in time to write the story. Law suits were filed against teams like the New York Yankees by reporters like Melissa Ludtke to give the female reporters the opportunity to do their job. Ludtke’s most valuable piece of advice to women going into the reporting field is to develop a sense of ‘locker room humor.’ She said, “Anyone who gets involved in covering sports has to understand that there`s a certain sense of humor that goes along with sports.”

Baker began her career in justice at age 16. She was working for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and was the only woman on the legal team for the Supreme Court case Brown vs Board of Education. She  was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and she became the first woman to be its chief justice in 1982.

“There appears to be no limit as to how far the women’s revolution will take us.” -Judge Constance Baker Motley

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