Chances are you won’t recognize the name Melissa Ludtke, but you should.
In 1977, she took on a titan, the U.S. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. That’s because he denied her access that her press credential clearly authorized her to have, preventing her from interviewing players in the team’s locker rooms. As a result, in 1978, Ludtke made history when she won a federal lawsuit contending that Major League Baseball’s media policy amounted to unequal access for female reporters. The case garnered global attention with headlines like “Babes in Boyland,” “Battle of the Sexes’ Invades Sports’ Locker Rooms,” and “How Far Does Equality Go?”. The landmark case was the beginning of a revolution in the fight for women’s equal rights as sports reporters – a fight that continues today.
“The lawsuit got tons and tons of attention because it was puns and puns galore,” Ludtke said. “And I think that attention, once we turned out to be successful, really galvanized those younger women who, like me before them, had not seen role models, now they saw it.”
Melissa Ludtke joined Mike Walter in our studio to discuss the changes garnered by her historic efforts and the current challenges faced by today’s female sports journalists.
Melissa Ludtke: Pioneering change in a man’s worldAward-winning journalist Melissa Ludtke talks about the current challenges faced by today’s female sports journalists.
Melissa Ludtke is an author, filmmaker and award-winning journalist. She’s reported for Sports Illustrated, CBS News, and Time Magazine. Melissa won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media, and the Yankee Quill Award for Lifetime Achievement, citing her distinguished history of fighting for equal opportunities for women sportswriters.