Thank You, Title IXJune 23, 2008
A poster on the wall in my office features caricatures of five women, each of them ready to play a different sport. One is kicking a soccer ball; another is twirling a basketball on her finger. They all stand behind a banner that says, “Thank You, Title IX.” While Title IX is widely known for creating opportunities for women and girls on the playing field, it does so much more. Monday, June 23, is the 36th anniversary of the law, and in honor of this, I hope we take a moment to celebrate all the law has done for women and girls in all areas of education.
Title IX states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” In addition to athletics, Title IX affects access and admission to higher education, career and technical education, education for pregnant and parenting students, equity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, employment, sexual harassment, and single-sex education. Title IX has made it possible for women to pursue careers as lawyers, doctors, mechanics, and scientists — and as professional athletes.
Some say that Title IX served its purpose 36 years ago, but that it’s no longer needed today. While Title IX has definitely succeeded in opening doors in the classroom and on the athletic field, we know that inequities and barriers remain. Sex segregation in career education and tenure persist, sexual harassment in our schools remains pervasive, and women’s athletic teams receive only 33 percent of recruiting dollars and 38 percent of operating dollars. We should, without a doubt, celebrate how far we’ve come under Title IX. We can’t, however, afford to lose sight of how far we have to go or why we need Title IX along the way.
On this anniversary, we invite you to celebrate Title IX’s accomplishments by leaving your comments on how this law has affected you. Then, we ask you to continue your advocacy for the law:
- Read AAUW’s press release on the anniversary and our position papers on Title IX’s impact on equity in school athletics, single-sex education, and sexual harassment.
- Read AAUW’s new research report, Where the Girls Are, which shows that girls’ educational achievements have not come at the expense of boys.
- Download AAUW’s Title IX Resource Kit for information on how you can advocate for continued enforcement of the law and draw public attention to all it has done for women and girls.
- Finally, urge your representative to promote better enforcement of Title IX in our high schools by passing the High School Athletics Accountability Act (H.R. 901), which would require high schools to report basic information on the number of female and male students in their athletic programs and the expenditures made for their sports teams.