This month marks 50 years of Title IX, an important civil rights law that prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex. Even after 50 years, Title IX is still evolving, and we believe it should be strengthened in the interest of all students and school staff.
Title IX requires that educational institutions from elementary through higher education provide equal opportunities for students to participate in sporting programs, academic courses, and extra-curricular activities, and that students and staff be subject to sexual harassment and sexual assault, including sex/gender provide protection against discrimination.
Title IX is a gender-neutral law, ensuring that individuals can excel regardless of gender norms. For example, in the historically female-dominated field of nursing, men made up 12% of US nurses as of 2019, up from 2.7% in 1970. Before Title IX was passed in 1972, women comprised only 12% of first-year law schoolers. Enrollment in the 1971–72 academic year, but over 50% nationwide as of 2016. Such significant gains have also been made by female school and college athletes, demonstrated here in the development of women in professional sports at the domestic level, such as the OL Reign and the Seattle Hurricanes.
Ten years ago, 40. But Our Times Op-Edth The anniversary of Title IX highlighted that while Title IX was a powerful law, racial inequalities persisted, with higher participation rates in sports for white women and girls compared to non-white women. While significant efforts and gains have been made, more work remains to be done to address barriers to the participation of women and girls of color.
Apart from those disparities, the distinction between the letter and the spirit of the law, as well as its implementation, makes a lot of sense. The ideals and rights specified by Title IX are less effective without the vigorous support of the US Department of Education, the agency responsible for implementing it.
Over the years, Title IX rules have unfortunately become a political battleground. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Education issued a controversial rule change expanding the rights of individuals accused of sexual assault and limiting the definition of sexual assault, which many said excludes survivors of sexual assault from reporting. will discourage.
With the new administration in the White House, further changes to the rules governing Title IX are expected. The Biden administration is expected not only to roll back those Trump-era changes, but to codify protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, expanding Title IX protections to transgender students.
There is an ideological battle going on around Title IX at the state level as well. In March, Utah became the 12th state to enact legislation that would bar young transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports, overcoming the governor’s veto. This law will probably be challenged in the courts.
As policy makers, parents, and women, we know that Title IX was meant to ensure that all students, regardless of their gender or identity, could take advantage of every opportunity in safe schools and universities. It aims to ensure that all students can explore many different aspects of themselves through participation in athletics, academics and extra-curricular activities.
Looking at the future of Title IX, let’s remember that complacency is not an option, but that Title IX should also not be a battleground, allowing students to bear the brunt of political posture.
Title IX was intended to protect the freedom of youth to learn, grow and compete, regardless of gender or identity, and has changed the lives of countless youth over the past 50 years. Hopefully, with the support of a grassroots US Justice Department, it will improve lives for the next 50 as well.