On June 23, 1972, Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The amendment reads: “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 education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
What does that mean? That any school that receives federal money must provide fair and equal treatment of all students, no matter their sex, in all areas of education.
One of the first and most effective uses of Title IX was to correct the imbalance between male and female student-athletes. Before Title IX passed, in 1971, only 1% of college athletic budgets went to women’s sports programs, and male high school athletes outnumbered their female counterparts at a rate of 12.5 to 1. Only one in 27 girls played sports.
Today, two in five girls play sports, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. There has been a 545% increase in the percentage of women play college sports and a 990% increase in the percentage of women playing high school sports since the legislation was passed.
The benefits of this increased participation on women are clear. Multiple studies show that girls who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression, have a more positive body image, and are more likely to get better grades in school and graduate than girls who do not play sports.
Campus sexual assault
In recent years, Title IX has also been elevated by campus sexual assault activists, who argue that sexual violence and harassment are forms of gender discrimination prohibited by the legislation. 2017 Interim Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education acknowledges the obligations schools have to address campus sexual violence. Title IX also requires schools to have Title IX coordinators, who are tasked with reporting incidents of sex discrimination, harassment, and/or violence and coordinating investigations and disciplinary processes related to these instances, according to Know Your IX.
Under the Clery Act, another federal law that intersects with Title IX, colleges and universities are required to aid student survivors of such treatment by notifying them of counseling resources, their options for reporting, providing accommodations, and notifying them of the final outcome from any disciplinary proceeding.
Learn more about Title IX at Know Your IX.