Friday, July 06, 2007

35 Years of Title IX

Last month, women and girls across the country celebrated the 35th anniversary of the landmark law called Title IX, which read, "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." Written by Congresswoman Patsy Mink, who wrote the law as a response to her experiences with discrimination in college.

Title IX was controversial, but also revolutionary. Says New Moon founder Nancy Gruver: "Title IX, which outlawed gender discrimination in education...[is] a somewhat invisible thing that has brought more positive change in gender equity for girls and young women than anything else I can think of, leading to massive change in our society."

A common myth about Title IX is that it only applied to athletics; Title IX also affected issues like math and science education, sexual harassment in schools, standardized testing, and education opportunities for pregnant teens. But Title IX proved most revolutionary in sports: over the last 30 years, Title IX has helped increase girls' participation in high school sports 800%, and women's participation in intercollegiate sports 400%! Women also have gained more opportunities to compete at elite levels through competitions like the Olympics, World Championships and professional leagues.

As girls, we've grown up in a world where sports are a regular part of our lives (although we still face plenty of sexism). But here's what the pre-Title IX world looked like:

"Things were different. The primary physical activities for girls were cheerleading and square-dancing. Only 1 in 27 girls played high school sports. There were virtually no college scholarships for female athletes. And female college athletes received only 2% of overall athletic budgets."

Unfortunately, Title IX has been under attack in recent years. But it's still so important. According to

Girls make up only about 42% of high school and college varsity athletes, even though they represent more than 50% of the student population.

Each year, male athletes receive $137 million more than female athletes in college athletic scholarships at NCAA member institutions.

Women in Division I colleges are over 50% of the student body, but receive only 32% of athletic recruiting dollars and 36% of athletic operating budgets.

In 2001-02, only 44% of coaches of women's teams were women. In 1972, the number was over 90%.

Unfortunately, the Department of Education issued a new Title IX policy that threatens to reverse the progress that women and girls have made in sports on March 17, 2005: Title IX is under attack. Do you think girls and women deserve better? Visit to sign a petition to the Secretary of Education and take action!

You can also check out some cool Title IX-related stuff:

Then tell us: Do you play sports? What do you wish was different about the girls and women in sports?

P.S. What do you think of this: Last month, Rags to Riches became the first filly in more than a century to win the Belmont Stakes, the prestigious annual horse race in Elmont, N.Y. The last time a filly beat the boys at the Belmont was when Tanya surged to victory in 1905.

Both genders of horses race together. What about humans? Do you support single-sex sports, or do you think girls and guys should play sports together?


Anonymous said...

It is harder for girls to be good at sports, and that's a true fact. Girls bodies function differently from mens, so usually you'll see more men playing sports, it has nothing to do with women feeling like "wimps" and its not sexist. I do not like sports, and that is not because I feel like I'm a girl and I shouldn't play sports, it's because it's just not my thing =)!

Anonymous said...

How many hurdles do we girls have to cross? I mean, yeah, I do play sports, but individual sports, never team sports. I dance, figure-skate and run. So to tell you the truth, I never get discriminated against. In the sports that I play, I don’t think I would change anything. I think my sports are perfect just the way they are.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with anonymous (11:13am). When you say "It is harder for girls to be good at sports, and that's a true fact", that's genralization. Boys might end up taller than girls ON AVERAGE, but that does not mean they're better at sports.

Practice hard, play hard, you could end up better than a lot of guys. Every person has different strengths and weaknesses, disregardless of gender.

Also, one of the best parts of being a girl is having choices. Skirt or pants, job or stay-at-home mother, single-sex or uni-sex sport leagues. It might be less competitive or easier to be in all girls or all boys leagues, but if you want to fight it out with the guys: GO GIRL, GO!!!

Anonymous said...

I do yoga, which is a "sport". But it is completly non-competitive and singular. Their is one boy in my class, and I admire him for it. In the yoga environment I think it is important for everyone to practice together. I am more respectful and am more comfortable about guys because of him being in my yoga class.