In 1972, the groundbreaking gender equity law, Title IX, made a lasting impression on all women nationally. Title IX states “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid” (1).
However, this law was passed 50 years ago, and so much has changed since then. Let's start from the beginning… Before Title IX was passed women were constantly excluded and only had limited access to educational programs. If women were accepted into colleges and universities, they were often stripped of their scholarships and were excluded from “male programs," such as those involving science and math.
“Young women were not admitted into many colleges and universities, athletic scholarships for women were rare, and math and science were a realm reserved for boys. Girls could become teachers and nurses, but not doctors or principals…” (2). This law would allow all women to feel seen, especially throughout their educational experiences.
Many powerful women helped pass this law, and many individuals proceed to continue the legacy they left.
Patsy T. Mink, a historical leader in education reform, is recognized as the author of Title IX. She wrote in response to the gender discrimination she faced throughout her educational experience. Later, in 1964, she was elected as the first woman of color in the House of Representatives.
Edith Louise Starrett Green (Also known as “Mrs. Education”) helped create Title IX. She was particularly motivated by the fact that there were programs for boys to stay in school, but not for girls.
Bernice R. Sandler is known for her role in the implementation of Title IX. She experienced sex discrimination when she was told she came on as “too strong for a woman”.
On June 23, 1972, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon. On this day, women throughout the nation celebrated a victory for gender equality. In recent years, this law has brought light to sexual harassment in classrooms, sexual violence, stalking, sexual discrimination, and domestic violence. This law is also famously known for its recognition of female sports and addresses other disparities faced by women in our society.
Despite the great progress that has been made for American women in education since 1972, more work remains to be completed to ensure women around the world have access to knowledge and education. Women’s education is one of the major factors behind the rates of social and economic development worldwide. Around the world, 130 million females lack access to schooling. An educated girl is likely to personally succeed by earning potential, as well as building her community. As more women gain education, notable social benefits appear, including decreased fertility rates, lower infant and maternal mortality rates. Educated women are better able to make decisions for themselves regarding personal health. In addition, women’s education increases the income of women, leading to growth in GDP. Thus, more educated women and more female leaders to conquer the inequality battle.
Women still continue to enter fields such as science and math at lower rates than men, earn less than half of the postsecondary degrees, and have fewer athletic opportunities. As America and the world continue to provide educational opportunities to women, we strive to achieve the promise of Title IX.
1. US EPA, OA. “Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 | US EPA.” US EPA, Mar. 2015, www.epa.gov/ocr/title-ix-education-amendments-act-1972.
2. “Title IX: 5 Ways It Changed Education for the Better.” Vector Solutions, 15 Oct. 2018, www.vectorsolutions.com/resources/blogs/title-ix-positive-changes/.