This groundbreaking law ushered in an era of enormous progress for girls and women. But more work is needed to achieve its full promise.
Leveling the Playing Field
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education. It covers women and men, girls and boys, and staff and students in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds. This includes local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, career and technical education programs, libraries and museums.
The law affects all areas of education, including in the areas of career and technical education; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); sexual harassment and assault; harassment based on gender identity; recruitment, admissions and housing; pregnant, parenting and/or married students; comparable facilities and access to course offerings; financial assistance; student health services and insurance benefits; and athletics.
Thanks to Title IX:
- Women now make up over 56% of America’s college students.
- Women hold nearly half (48%) of tenure-track positions.
- Since Title IX’s passage, the number of female athletes climbed more than10 times: female athletes now make up 42% of all high school athletes.
- In 1972, only 700 girls played soccer on high school teams. In 2018, there were 390,000.
Despite the many positive effects of Title IX, women and girls still do not have equal educational experiences or opportunities. Consider that:
- 1.13 million more boys participate in high school sports than girls, reflecting in part less support and available opportunities.
- Researchers found that at high schools where students are predominantly white, girls have 82% of the opportunity to play sports that boys have; and at schools where students are predominantly racial and ethnic minorities, girls only have 67% the opportunity to play sports compared to boys.
- Sexual harassment continues to be a significant problem for female students, creating barriers to an equal education.
- A 2017 study found that men dominate 9 of the 10 college majors that lead to the highest-paying jobs, all 10 of which are in STEM fields and 7 out of the 10 are in computer science and engineering. Women, by contrast, dominate 6 of the 10 lowest-paying majors and are at or near parity with men in two others.
AAUW is pushing for strong enforcement of Title IX and policies that will extend equity protections. For instance, the proposed Patsy Mink and Louise Slaughter Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) includes provisions for more resources, training and technical assistance to support full implementation of Title IX.
Know Your Rights on Campus
The rights of students, faculty and staff are protected by law, yet many campuses fail to safeguard against gender discrimination, harassment and assault. Use AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund resources to make sure you know your rights.
Where We Stand: Title IX
AAUW strongly supports the vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education. Read more about the importance of this legislation and what additional measures we support.
There are lots of ways to get involved with AAUW’s work to advance gender equity. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women and girls.
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