It took just 37 words to change the path of education for millions of women and girls in the United States. Yet the short language in Title IX, the Historical Education Act, which was signed in 1972, comes out in even fewer letters.
“You are too strong for a woman.”
That’s what Dr. Bernice Sandler was told in 1969 when she applied for a permanent position at the University of Maryland, where she was already a former professor. Three years later – in the wake of class action lawsuits by women in higher education and the manipulation of a handful of legislators – for the first time in American history, women were given the means to ensure equal access to higher education.
For its tremendous impact, the title IX passed with some fanfare, a notable whisper between two other important provisions aimed at giving women rights within a 12-month period: amending equal rights and Roe v. Wade Fifty years later, it looks like only one of the three will survive.
The Equal Rights Amendment, which clearly guarantees the equal protection of women in the US Constitution, was first proposed in 1923 and passed by the Senate on March 22, 1972. But many states have not ratified it within the last 10 years. Added.
Title IX was signed by President Richard M. Nixon on June 23, 1972.
Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States, was announced on January 22, 1973. But it is widely believed that the 50th anniversary of the decision will not be possible. A draft opinion was leaked on May 2 this year, suggesting that the Supreme Court may overturn an earlier decision, signaling a rapid change of laws in several states.
So what makes Title IX so durable? A congressional process for beginners and broad public support. But while Title IX’s goal was to equalize college admissions, perhaps its most notable achievement has been women’s participation in intra-scholastic sports, which has exploded into a number of youth sports for girls.
Dr. Courtney Flowers, professor of sports management at Texas Southern University and a new co-author, said, “Everyone can relate to sports, whether it’s your favorite team or the college athletic experience – sports are a common element. Brings us together. ” Analysis of Title IX by Women’s Sports Foundation. “Everyone knows the word but associates it with athletics.”
According to the report, 3 million high school girls now have the opportunity to participate in sports that preceded Title IX. Today, women make up 44% of all college athletes, up from 15% before Title IX.
“There was legislation that opened the door and changed minds,” Flowers said. “Because of Title IX, there’s Serena, there’s Simon Byles.”
50 years of Title IX
The historic Gender Equality Legislation, signed in 1972, changed women’s access to education, sports and more.
Title IX emerged as a hotbed of civil rights and women’s liberation movements. But like the policies that preceded Title IX, its path to success was far from certain. The key was to keep it under radar and wide, experts said.
U.S. Rep. Edith Green of Oregon, a longtime supporter of women’s participation, and Patsy Mink of Hawaii, the first color woman to be elected to Congress, saw the struggles facing the House and the amendment of equal rights. Had to do it in the Senate. . As he began to develop the title IX, he tried to avoid pushback from peers and educational institutions.
Green and Mink considered amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, among other provisions, prohibits racial and gender discrimination in the workplace in federally funded programs. went. But the way to include the provision of education seemed politically difficult.
On the other hand, the re-enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965 provided an opportunity to add a new title to a long list of educational amendments, or a subset of the law. The act eventually became the Omnibus Education Bill, which deals with anti-busing policies and federal funding for college students.
While Green and Mink decided to drop the amendment to the Civil Rights Act, they saw the reason for using their language.
Anyone in the United States, Based on gender, Be disqualified, denied benefits, or discriminated against An educational program or activity Receive federal funding.
Green, Mink, and other legislators have moved on to the title IX “not by creating a massive social movement from an aggressive standpoint for educational equality,” said Dr. Elizabeth A. Schroeder, professor of history and political science at the University of Massachusetts. Amherst. “They did it very subtly and quietly, and they did it on purpose because they knew that the idea – that we should call certain things gender discrimination in education – could be politically controversial and They were better than finding ways to reduce it. “
This was personal to both Green and Mink, whose own experiences of discrimination influenced their policy-making. Green originally wanted to be a lawyer, but his family pushed him to study. Mink was barred from attending dozens of medical schools because she was a woman.
“I think seeing my daughter subjected to the same kind of ejaculation and straight jacket that she experienced as a child and trying to move her forward as a young adult, seeing her happen again, is a real thing. It was encouraging. The element of trying to figure out how to standardize equality and discriminating was misunderstood, “said Wendy Mink, daughter of Patsy Mink and a political scientist.
It was also personal to Senator Birch Bay of Indiana. After sponsoring the Equal Rights Amendment in the Senate, he was tasked with doing the same for Title IX. Beh’s wife, Marvella, was also denied equal opportunities.
“My father felt it was very unfair,” said his son, Avon Bay, a former Indiana senator. “They feel that if our society is going to meet its potential, we cannot deprive more than half the population.”
With the emphasis on financing and limiting separation tactics, little attention was paid to the inclusion of Title IX. President Nixon made no mention of it in his signature statement. The signing of the bill made the front page of the New York Times. Title IX got a bullet point.
Opponents of the Equal Rights Amendment, such as Phyllis Schlafly, led a lower-level conservative campaign against its ratification, and Roe v. Wade had social conservative and religious leaders ready to protest, with little opposition to Title IX, according to the doctor. Devendra Rose, an associate professor of public policy at Duke University, focuses on historical social policies in the United States.
Title IX also had what Rose called a “significant” benefit as education policy passed through several generations.
A 2017 poll by the National Women’s Law Center found that about 80% of voters supported Title IX. (The Ipsos and University of Maryland March of Parents and Children March survey found that most had not heard of Title IX but generally thought that boys and girls sports teams should be treated equally. Should be done.)
Shiro said it is difficult for lawmakers to back down.
Shirou said the Equal Rights Amendment, Row vs. Wade and Title IX are all linked to his efforts to address gender inequality in American society, but disagreed that he had enacted legislation to bring about change. And how the policy was used.
Amending the Equal Rights was an attempt to amend the Constitution, a very difficult process. Even so, if it had been ratified, Shiro would have said, “it would have been clearer than any other single policy.”
Rowe v. Wade, by contrast, was an interpretation of constitutional law as decided by the Supreme Court.
The advantage of Title IX, Rose said, was that it was relatively vague, which “gave the rule a chance to fight over time.”
This is not to say that Title IX has avoided criticism. As soon as it was signed into law, the question of enforcement “caused a great deal of controversy,” Wendy Mink said, primarily on athletics and physical education. At the time of Roe’s decision, the outcry began in early 1973. The lengthy discussion of implementation guidelines, finalized in 1979, focused on whether sports were a suitable place for women.
“In response, they fed each other – a reaction against women’s physical autonomy and a reaction against women’s ability to use their bodies in athletics,” Mink said.
The breadth of Title IX also provides a broader umbrella for protection, including against sexual harassment and assault on campus. In 1977, a group of women in Yale confirmed this through a lawsuit that led to the establishment of a grievance procedure for colleges across the country.
“Title IX is the best – we are the subject, we are no longer the object,” said Dr. Ann Oliverius, a leading plaintiff in Yale’s case and a lawyer who specializes in sexual misconduct. “We are actually participants, we are active narrators of our lives with our bodies and we know that we actually have bodies and we use those bodies.”
Just as it met this moment in 1972, Title IX is poised to meet a more inclusive society. In 2021, the Department of Education said it plans to extend Title IX reservations to transgender students. (The Biden administration has yet to finalize its proposals.)
Eighteen states have enacted laws or issued statewide rules banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports divisions, and a group of 15 state attorney generals urged the Biden administration in April to rename the title IX. Should reconsider its interpretation.
“We are looking at these policies and we need to move beyond a very narrow definition of policy understanding, such as Title IX,” Rose said. “Some people are working to use Title IX to limit and restrict, and this is beyond the intent of the policy.”
While it’s a moment to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the law’s passage, experts say it’s also a moment to reflect on what Title IX hasn’t noticed. Access to college sports has improved, but inequality remains. Elements other than gender, including race and disability, are not included in the language of Title IX.
“Yeah, we’re celebrating, but boy, we still have work to do,” Flowers said.
The Women’s Sports Foundation found that men have about 60,000 more opportunities in college sports than women. In college sports, women also lag behind their male counterparts in scholarships, recruitment dollars and head coaching positions. Women of color in particular still lag behind their white peers – only 14% of college athletes are women of color.
Most experts agree that Title IX, in view of its widespread support, is entitled to an equal rights amendment or Roe v. Destiny like Wade is unlikely to be fulfilled. If and how titles can be undermined, “it is up to the observer,” said Libby Adler, a professor of constitutional law at Northeastern University.
“I don’t see it hit. I can’t even imagine what it would look like,” Adler said. “Don’t say it sometimes, but it’s unimaginable to me.”
However, on the issue of transgender athletes and other classes whose language is not clearly defined, Adler said that Title IX could be interpreted differently.
“It’s the flexibility or the unshakable that makes it unlikely to end, but it will be explained much more in ways that are consistent with the politics of the judges we have,” he said.