Title IX: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education for 40 years

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3Jqj40dybSQ[/youtube]By Armelle Djoukoue

This year Title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary. Signed into law on June 23, 1972, Title IX guaranteed gender equity for girls and boys in every educational program that receives federal funding.  Most known as the law that gave girls equal opportunity in sports, it also applies to access to higher education, career education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, learning environment, math and science, sexual harassment, standardized testing and technology.  Here are some quick facts from the National Women’s Law Center:

  • Title IX is best known for creating more opportunities for women and girls to play sports. Title IX requires schools and colleges receiving federal funds to give women and girls an equal chance to play sports and to treat women and men equally when it comes to athletic scholarships and other benefits like equipment, coaching and facilities.
  • Since Title IX, the number of female AND male student athletes has greatly increased. The number of male college athletes has increased from 170,384 in 1972 to 208,866 in 2001; the number of female college athletes has increased from 31,852 in 1972 to 150,916 almost a five-fold increase. The number of high school girls playing competitive sports has increased from fewer than 300,000 before Title IX to 2.78 million in 2001. This shows that women’s and men’s interest in sports grows with their increased opportunities to play them.
  • Even so, Title IX’s role in athletics is not yet finished. Resources for women’s athletic programs continue to lag behind men’s. While women are 53% of the student body at Division I colleges, they are only 41% of the athletes, receive only 32% of recruiting dollars and get only 36% of overall athletic operating budgets. At the high school level, the inequitable treatment, budgets and equipment girls receive can be far worse.
  • There are important things that Title IX does not do. It does not mandate “quotas.” The use of this hot button word creates the impression that schools, especially in the area of athletics, must set aside a certain mandatory number of slots for women. In fact, every court that has heard this argument has said that Title IX does NOT require quotas. A school can comply with Title IX by showing that it is trying to expand opportunities for female athletes or that it is accommodating the interests of female students at the school.
  • Nothing in Title IX requires colleges and universities to cut men’s teams. Most schools comply with Title IX by adding athletic opportunities for women without cutting teams. A March 2001 General Accounting Office study found that 72% of those colleges and universities that added women’s teams did so without cutting any men’s teams. Football and basketball continue to consume the majority of men’s total athletic budgets in Division I-A schools 72% forcing the other men’s programs to compete for the remaining funds, with the women’s program also getting only a small share of the total athletics budget.

For the past 40 years, Title IX has had a significant impact on women and girls in America and changed the way they see themselves. For more information about Title IX visit http://www.titleix.info/Default.aspx and to find out about how Title IX continues to be a champion for women and girls in America, check out the National Women’s Law Center Blog.