Four Things You Probably Don’t Know About Title IX
Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6th, is National Girls & Women in Sports Day, which has people singing the praises of Title IX from soccer fields, softball diamonds, tracks, pools and countless other sporting venues — and for good reason! Title IX is an enormously important law for female athletes — no other law has done more to expand opportunities for women and girls in athletics. While there is still work to be done, the progress we have made thanks to Title IX is tremendous.
But what many people don’t know is that the benefits and protections of Title IX aren’t limited to athletics. Here are four other ways Title IX is there for young women (and men, too):
1. Equal opportunities in career and technical programs in traditionally male-dominated fields
Title IX requires that girls and boys be given equal opportunities in career and technical education programs, particularly in traditionally male-dominated fields. Getting more women in these fields may be the key to closing the gender wage gap, since predominantly female occupations pay lower wages than predominantly male ones. Women still face barriers and a lack of encouragement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (often referred to as STEM), but Title IX has broadened opportunities for a number of women and girls.
Dear Schools, Please Stop Discriminating Based on Pregnancy. Thanks, Title IX
Imagine you’re an honors student at a community college. You’re doing great: you’ve got a merit-based scholarship and you’re enjoying your classes. You’re also pregnant and excited to welcome the new addition to your family.
Being the conscientious student that you are, you approach your professors as soon as classes start, tell them that you’re due near the end of the semester, and ask that if you miss any tests due to a pregnancy-related absence you be allowed to make them up. You even offer to provide a doctor’s note. Three of your professors congratulate you, and tell you that of course this won’t be a problem.
But one of your professors says she will not excuse any such leave or allow work missed to be made up, even if it’s a labor and delivery emergency. She will not reconsider this policy “just because you find it inconvenient.” You’ll just have to deal with it or drop the class.
Sheesh, okay, fine, this professor is being unreasonable. But surely when you appeal to the administration — including the dean — they’ll intervene and tell the professor to reverse her decision, right?
In fact, though, the dean tells you that each professor gets to set his or her own leave and make-up rules, regardless of what those rules are. And if you don’t like it, you’ll have to drop the class.
You feel defeated, so you do it. You drop the class. And because dropping the class disqualified you from your scholarship program, you withdraw from that too.
This all could have been prevented if the school had complied with Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
What Do Sports and Reproductive Rights Have in Common?
See all our 2012 Title IX coverage here.
Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of what turned out to be one of the most important pieces of feminist legislation, Title IX. Title IX was a wide-ranging reform to educational standards in the U.S., one that required schools from kindergarten through doctoral programs to cease sex discrimination. It ended the traditions of barring boys from home economics and typing class while helping usher more women into STEM fields. But what most people think of first and often only when they think of Title IX is athletics. The requirement that schools invest as much in female athletics as male athletics has by far been the most controversial aspect to this amendment. People who wouldn’t dare suggest that only women should learn to cook or that unequal pay is fair often have no compunction about diminishing female athletes by claiming that their accomplishments simply can’t matter as much as do men’s. In the year 2012, female athleticism still causes overt anxieties.
Why is that? I propose it’s for the same reason that a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy — or even prevent one — is still controversial in our society. As with reproductive rights, female athleticism brings forth social anxieties about women exerting mastery over their own bodies.
Title IX: It’s Not Just about Sports and It’s Time to Take it Seriously
See all our 2012 Title IX coverage here.
Title IX, a groundbreaking statute intended to end sex discrimination in education, became law on June 23, 1972. While most famous for its requirement that schools provide girls with equal athletic opportunities, Title IX is not just about sports. The law applies to all educational programs that receive federal funding, and to all aspects of a school’s educational system.
Title IX benefits both boys and girls and is the lynchpin of decades of efforts to promote and establish gender equity in schools.For 40 years, Title IX has mandated gender equality in education and has made a huge difference in young people’s lives. By ensuring that public and private schools, universities and education programs that receive federal funding do not discriminate on the basis of sex, it has not only changed the face of education, it has dramatically increased the ability of girls to fully participate in educational programs and opened doors for all young people to pursue their goals.
Although most people know that Title IX requires schools to provide girls and boys with equal athletic opportunities, it goes much further and helps to ensure that our schools are free of gender-based discrimination and harassment across all educational and extra-curricular programs.