When the topic ofTitle IX comes up, most people immediately think of gender discrimination inathletics. While that is true, it isonly one part of Title IX. USA Today best described what Title IX means todaywhen it stated, “Title IX touches every aspect of the educational system inways that are not always apparent to the law’s target population: students” (Samsel,2017, p.
1). From education toathletics to sexual assault, Title IX has transformed our culture, providingmore equality for women and will only continue to evolve as time goes on. The issue of genderdiscrimination in education has been around since the 1800’s (Gordon, 1997).
Gordon (1997) stated the “public, political,and economic world belonged to men, whereas women’s sphere was limited tohousehold and children” (p. 473). Thisquote describes the gender discrimination and how women were rarely seenoutside the house. If women had accessto education, it was limited and the courses offered were limited as educatedwomen were restricted to careers such as teaching, nursing or caretaking, socialwork, and library science (Lopiano, 2000). As time went on, women eventually began to make their way into theeducation system, but it was not easy.
Womenseeking an education were often held to higher standards than the standards menwere held to, which regularly prohibited women from being accepted into acollege or university. The colleges anduniversities that would allow women to apply required higher test scores andgrades in order for the women to be admitted (United States Department ofJustice, 2012). Although some women wereadmitted into higher education institutions despite the higher standards, it didnot get easier for women. The women thatwere admitted had less financial aid and scholarship options, fewer courses andmajors to choose from as women were not allowed into “male” programs, such asmedicine and law, and stricter rules to abide by such as earlier curfews thantheir male colleagues (United States Department of Justice, 2012). There was a shift in women’s rights when only8 percent of women who were considered college age, 19 years or older, werecollege graduates in 1970 (United States Department of Justice, 2012). This shift ended up creating the UnitedStates Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IX, a federal law that isconsidered a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972. The 92nd UnitedStates Congress enacted Title IX on June 23, 1972 (United States Department ofJustice, 2012).
This law ensured theprotection of millions of students and has improved access to educationalopportunities. According to the UnitedStates Department of Justice (2012), Title IX ensures that “no educationalopportunity is denied to women on the basis of sex and that women are grantedequal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to societybased on their individual talents and capacities” (p. 1).
Title IX gave women the opportunity to befull, equal citizens. Our democracy wasfounded on several principles, one, stated by Rose (2015), being “people canonly be free and equal where there is equality of opportunity” (p.159). Before Title IX was enacted, women weredenied admittance into higher education institutions, which women supportedwith their taxes, and had limited access to public places.
Because of this, women could not beconsidered full and equal citizens (Rose, 2015). Given the opportunity to have equalitythrough Title IX has had a major impact on women and more importantly oursociety. Title IX made itillegal for institutions to discriminate based on sex and therefore helpedeliminate the gender stereotypes revolving around traditionally “male” or”female” careers (United States Department of Justice, 2012). While there are still fewer women enteringscience and technology professions than men, women are not prohibited fromentering those careers. Although TitleIX protected over 20 million students enrolled in higher educationinstitutions, education for women was just the beginning for Title IX (UnitedStates Department Of Justice, 2012).
Shortly after Title IX was enacted in1972, discrimination of sex within athletics became a popular issue. In 1972, only 3.7percent of high school girls were participating in varsity sports (Lopiano,2000). At that time, the NationalCollegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was not even sponsoring women’scollegiate athletics as the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women(AIAW) governed women’s collegiate programs (Heckman, 1992). However, the AIAW only coordinatedchampionship tournaments for women’s collegiate athletics and did not have anycontrol over games during the regular season or compliance for the teams. The AIAW was eventually dismantled when theNCAA announced 29 women’s championships in 12 sports in 1982 (Heckman, 1992). Discriminationbased on sex within athletics was brought up in Title IX in order to addresspast discrimination while also promoting equality of opportunity withinathletics (Heckman, 1992). Heckman (1992)states that under Title IX, “a recipient of federal funds could result in thetermination of all federal funds, until the recipient came into compliance” (p.
13). Because most schools had to restructure athletic departments due to TitleIX, higher education institutions, as well as high schools and elementaryschools, were provided a transition period for compliance (Heckman, 1992). Higher education institutions and highschools were given three years to comply after the regulations became effective,which was July 21, 1978, while elementary schools were given one year tocomply, which was July 21, 1976 (Heckman, 1992).
Most schools did not want to lose funding sothey restructured their athletic departments in order to comply with the TitleIX regulations as soon as possible. One of the mostcommon types of discrimination at the time was a higher education institutionhaving a men’s sports team but not a women’s team. If found guilty of discriminating based onsex, usually by the Women’s Equity Action League, an organization founded tomonitor implementation and enforcement of Title IX, an institution had threeoptions (Heckman, 1992). The first optionwould be for the higher education institution to discontinue the men’s team(Heckman, 1992). The purpose of Title IXis to provide equal opportunities for both sexes to compete in athletic events,not deny all students the option to compete altogether. Consequently, most institutions did notchoose this option as it prevented both sexes from competing. The second option was to allow femalestudents to try out for the men’s team (Heckman, 1992). This would allow both sexes the opportunityto compete on the same team.
If bothsexes competed on the same team, athletic departments would not have toincrease expenses as much as they would if they created a whole new women’steam. However, there were somestipulations as to which men’s teams female student- athletes were allowed totry out for. For example, most of theteams women were able to try out for were the non- contact sports, such astrack and cross-country. Thisstipulation was put in place due to safety concerns for the women playingcontact sports with men (Heckman, 1992). The last option would be to create a separatewomen’s team as long as it is equivalent to the men’s team (Heckman, 1992). In order to be equivalent to the men’s team, accordingto Heckman (1992), the women’s team must have similar “facilities, equipment, supplies, uniforms,coaches, tutors, playing time, practice time, medical care, and publicity” (p.
26). At this time, these factors justhad to be comparable to the men’s program. The women’s program did not have to be a replica of the men’s program ordistribute equal funds to each program like today. The decision is up to the higher educationinstitution, as long as the institution complies with Title IX. Title IX hasgreatly improved the opportunity for women not only in the academic world, butalso the athletic world. The NCAA claimsthe number of female athletes competing at the collegiate level is at an alltime high with 205,119 female student- athletes (Johnson, 2014). Today, the issue within college athleticshas switched from athletic programs being provided to women to whether or notwomen’s athletic programs are equivalent to men’s athletic programs. Oneexample of this new discrimination issue is uniforms.
Under the original issue, athleticdepartments were worried about providing uniforms for women’s teams. Today, the concern is whether to providewomen’s teams with old men’s uniforms or provide the team with new uniforms. Toaddress this issue, Title IX was revised in 1980 to include ten factors werelisted in order to determine whether equal opportunity has been provided to allathletes.
These ten factors, stated byHeckman (1992), are as follows:accommodation ofinterests and abilities of members of both sexes, provision of equipment andsupplies, scheduling of games and practice times, travel and per diem allowances,opportunity to receive coaching and tutors, assignment and compensation ofcoaches and tutors, provision of locker rooms and practice and competitivefacilities, provision of medical and training facilities and services, andprovision of housing and dining facilities and services” (pp. 39-42)These factors created concrete evidence forathletic departments, as well as enforcers, to use and make sure they arecompliant with Title IX. As evidencedabove, discrimination based on sex has been an issue for decades and hasevolved throughout the years. Whatstarted as discrimination within academics, has since turned intodiscrimination within athletics and now even sexual assault and harassment oncampuses. Sexual assault and harassmenton campuses is the most current Title IX issue, as the country is beginning tosee more cases and accusations arise. Dueto the prevalent issue, the Obama administration and the Department ofEducation created policies, which eliminate the rights of the accused, particularlyduring the disciplinary process on campus. These policies help during the trial process, but effects sexual assaultand harassment last a lifetime. KnowYour IX is there to help with that.
According to Samsel (2017), Know Your IX is a “survivor- and youth- ledorganization focused on ending rape and violence” (p.1). One recommendation I would have for Title IXissues regarding sexual assault and harassment would be to create more groupsand organizations like Know Your IX. Filing a sexual assault or harassment case is a scary and difficulttime. Having a group or organization assupport, I believe, would help female students cope with the situation or knowhow to address the situation.
Unfortunately we live in a world where informing and teaching studentsabout sexual assault and harassment will not stop the act from happening, but itwill inform students how to handle the situation. Anotherrecommendation I would have regarding Title IX would be to get more womeninvolved in coaching. Before thediscrimination of sex issue within athletics, women coached over 90 percent ofwomen’s college teams. However, afterthe implementation of Title IX, women coach less than half of women’scollegiate athletic teams (Samsel, 2017). Title IX showed women that they are capable of the same opportunitiesmen are given; yet fewer women are coaching now.
I believe having a female on the coachingstaff is critical at any age. The femalepresence on the court or field is comforting for female athletes, as they havesomeone they can connect with. Havingmore women in leadership positions in athletics will be another step towardsequality for women. Samsel (2017)quoted Donna De Varona, an Olympic gold medalist and Title IX advocate, whichperfectly described how far we have come since Title IX and how far we can goas women today. She stated, The Passage ofTitle IX 45 years ago changed the trajectory of American women, thistransforming our culture.
We found ourway into space, onto the Supreme Court and into the high echelons ofpolitics. In the sporting arena, webecame visible affirmations of what is possible, offering up strong, confidentrole models for future generations (Samsel, 2017, p.1)