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Star-Bulletin Sports


Monday, June 24, 2002


art



The only thing women
needed was a chance



By Cindy Luis
cluis@starbulletin.com

Jackie Young wasn't a great golfer but she enjoyed the sport. She estimates she was a 10-handicapper while in the junior program run by the late Ted Makalena.

"I played golf at Punahou," said Young, a former state house vice speaker and a 1952 graduate of Punahou. "Junior golf wasn't that big back then, but we had fun.

"When I went to UH, I tried to join the golf team, but they wouldn't tell me where the practices were. So I quit golf."

Young did what was considered the "appropriate" activity for a coed. She became a UH songleader. For some unexplained reason, she also received a letter for golf.

Now the director of marketing for the American Cancer Society, Young was the gender-equity specialist in the Department of Education from 1985-90. More than a decade after Title IX was passed, she said, Hawaii lagged behind in girls participation numbers.

"I think they've made progress since then," said Young, who helped start the Gender Equity Sports Club in 1994. "Part of the problem back then was attitude. They didn't offer different sports because they thought there wasn't the interest. And there was -- and is -- a real problem with facilities.

"Look at the WNBA. They said there wouldn't be interest on the part of the public. But there is. It was like when they said no one would pay to come and watch women's volleyball at Klum Gym. People kept showing up."

The Wahine volleyball program has led the nation in attendance every year since 1994, the first year the Stan Sheriff Center opened. In eight years, Hawaii has drawn more than one million fans, and averaged an amazing 8,379 per match in 1996.

When Young was in the state legislature (1990-94), she said her push was to bring some equality on the administration side of high school athletics. But, she said, it was tough to get women to step forward.

Young is trying to make a comeback in politics and has announced her candidacy for the Kailua-Waimanalo district seat held by Fred Hemmings.

She's also made a comeback on the links, playing in celebrity tournaments.

"If I click, it's good," she said. "But I've had to correct my junior-golf swing."



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