When of Justice, 2012). There was a shift


When the topic of
Title IX comes up, most people immediately think of gender discrimination in
athletics.  While that is true, it is
only one part of Title IX. USA Today best described what Title IX means today
when it stated, “Title IX touches every aspect of the educational system in
ways that are not always apparent to the law’s target population: students” (Samsel,
2017, p.1).  From education to
athletics to sexual assault, Title IX has transformed our culture, providing
more equality for women and will only continue to evolve as time goes on.

The issue of gender
discrimination 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 to
household and children” (p. 473).  This
quote describes the gender discrimination and how women were rarely seen
outside the house.  If women had access
to education, it was limited and the courses offered were limited as educated
women were restricted to careers such as teaching, nursing or caretaking, social
work, and library science (Lopiano, 2000). 
As time went on, women eventually began to make their way into the
education system, but it was not easy.  Women
seeking an education were often held to higher standards than the standards men
were held to, which regularly prohibited women from being accepted into a
college or university.  The colleges and
universities that would allow women to apply required higher test scores and
grades in order for the women to be admitted (United States Department of
Justice, 2012).  Although some women were
admitted into higher education institutions despite the higher standards, it did
not get easier for women.  The women that
were admitted had less financial aid and scholarship options, fewer courses and
majors to choose from as women were not allowed into “male” programs, such as
medicine and law, and stricter rules to abide by such as earlier curfews than
their male colleagues (United States Department of Justice, 2012).  There was a shift in women’s rights when only
8 percent of women who were considered college age, 19 years or older, were
college graduates in 1970 (United States Department of Justice, 2012).  This shift ended up creating the United
States Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IX, a federal law that is
considered a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972.

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The 92nd United
States Congress enacted Title IX on June 23, 1972 (United States Department of
Justice, 2012).  This law ensured the
protection of millions of students and has improved access to educational
opportunities.  According to the United
States Department of Justice (2012), Title IX ensures that “no educational
opportunity is denied to women on the basis of sex and that women are granted
equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society
based on their individual talents and capacities” (p. 1).

 Title IX gave women the opportunity to be
full, equal citizens.  Our democracy was
founded on several principles, one, stated by Rose (2015), being “people can
only be free and equal where there is equality of opportunity” (p.159).  Before Title IX was enacted, women were
denied admittance into higher education institutions, which women supported
with their taxes, and had limited access to public places.  Because of this, women could not be
considered full and equal citizens (Rose, 2015).  Given the opportunity to have equality
through Title IX has had a major impact on women and more importantly our
society. 

Title IX made it
illegal for institutions to discriminate based on sex and therefore helped
eliminate the gender stereotypes revolving around traditionally “male” or
“female” careers (United States Department of Justice, 2012).  While there are still fewer women entering
science and technology professions than men, women are not prohibited from
entering those careers.  Although Title
IX protected over 20 million students enrolled in higher education
institutions, education for women was just the beginning for Title IX (United
States Department Of Justice, 2012). Shortly after Title IX was enacted in
1972, discrimination of sex within athletics became a popular issue.

In 1972, only 3.7
percent of high school girls were participating in varsity sports (Lopiano,
2000).  At that time, the National
Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was not even sponsoring women’s
collegiate athletics as the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women
(AIAW) governed women’s collegiate programs (Heckman, 1992).  However, the AIAW only coordinated
championship tournaments for women’s collegiate athletics and did not have any
control over games during the regular season or compliance for the teams.  The AIAW was eventually dismantled when the
NCAA announced 29 women’s championships in 12 sports in 1982 (Heckman, 1992). 

Discrimination
based on sex within athletics was brought up in Title IX in order to address
past discrimination while also promoting equality of opportunity within
athletics (Heckman, 1992).  Heckman (1992)
states that under Title IX, “a recipient of federal funds could result in the
termination of all federal funds, until the recipient came into compliance” (p.
13). Because most schools had to restructure athletic departments due to Title
IX, higher education institutions, as well as high schools and elementary
schools, were provided a transition period for compliance (Heckman, 1992).  Higher education institutions and high
schools were given three years to comply after the regulations became effective,
which was July 21, 1978, while elementary schools were given one year to
comply, which was July 21, 1976 (Heckman, 1992).  Most schools did not want to lose funding so
they restructured their athletic departments in order to comply with the Title
IX regulations as soon as possible. 

One of the most
common types of discrimination at the time was a higher education institution
having a men’s sports team but not a women’s team.  If found guilty of discriminating based on
sex, usually by the Women’s Equity Action League, an organization founded to
monitor implementation and enforcement of Title IX, an institution had three
options (Heckman, 1992). 

The first option
would be for the higher education institution to discontinue the men’s team
(Heckman, 1992).  The purpose of Title IX
is 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 not
choose this option as it prevented both sexes from competing.  The second option was to allow female
students to try out for the men’s team (Heckman, 1992).  This would allow both sexes the opportunity
to compete on the same team.  If both
sexes competed on the same team, athletic departments would not have to
increase expenses as much as they would if they created a whole new women’s
team.   However, there were some
stipulations as to which men’s teams female student- athletes were allowed to
try out for.  For example, most of the
teams women were able to try out for were the non- contact sports, such as
track and cross-country.  This
stipulation was put in place due to safety concerns for the women playing
contact sports with men (Heckman, 1992).   The last option would be to create a separate
women’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, according
to 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 just
had to be comparable to the men’s program. 
The women’s program did not have to be a replica of the men’s program or
distribute equal funds to each program like today.   The decision is up to the higher education
institution, as long as the institution complies with Title IX.

Title IX has
greatly improved the opportunity for women not only in the academic world, but
also the athletic world.  The NCAA claims
the number of female athletes competing at the collegiate level is at an all
time high with 205,119 female student- athletes (Johnson, 2014).   Today, the issue within college athletics
has switched from athletic programs being provided to women to whether or not
women’s athletic programs are equivalent to men’s athletic programs. One
example of this new discrimination issue is uniforms.  Under the original issue, athletic
departments were worried about providing uniforms for women’s teams.  Today, the concern is whether to provide
women’s teams with old men’s uniforms or provide the team with new uniforms. To
address this issue, Title IX was revised in 1980 to include ten factors were
listed in order to determine whether equal opportunity has been provided to all
athletes.  These ten factors, stated by
Heckman (1992), are as follows:

accommodation of
interests and abilities of members of both sexes, provision of equipment and
supplies, scheduling of games and practice times, travel and per diem allowances,
opportunity to receive coaching and tutors, assignment and compensation of
coaches and tutors, provision of locker rooms and practice and competitive
facilities, provision of medical and training facilities and services, and
provision of housing and dining facilities and services” (pp. 39-42)

These factors created concrete evidence for
athletic departments, as well as enforcers, to use and make sure they are
compliant with Title IX.  

As evidenced
above, discrimination based on sex has been an issue for decades and has
evolved throughout the years.  What
started as discrimination within academics, has since turned into
discrimination within athletics and now even sexual assault and harassment on
campuses.  Sexual assault and harassment
on campuses is the most current Title IX issue, as the country is beginning to
see more cases and accusations arise.  Due
to the prevalent issue, the Obama administration and the Department of
Education created policies, which eliminate the rights of the accused, particularly
during the disciplinary process on campus. 
These policies help during the trial process, but effects sexual assault
and harassment last a lifetime.  Know
Your IX is there to help with that. 
According to Samsel (2017), Know Your IX is a “survivor- and youth- led
organization focused on ending rape and violence” (p.1).   One recommendation I would have for Title IX
issues regarding sexual assault and harassment would be to create more groups
and organizations like Know Your IX. 
Filing a sexual assault or harassment case is a scary and difficult
time.  Having a group or organization as
support, I believe, would help female students cope with the situation or know
how to address the situation. 
Unfortunately we live in a world where informing and teaching students
about sexual assault and harassment will not stop the act from happening, but it
will inform students how to handle the situation.

Another
recommendation I would have regarding Title IX would be to get more women
involved in coaching.  Before the
discrimination of sex issue within athletics, women coached over 90 percent of
women’s college teams.  However, after
the implementation of Title IX, women coach less than half of women’s
collegiate athletic teams (Samsel, 2017). 
Title IX showed women that they are capable of the same opportunities
men are given; yet fewer women are coaching now.  I believe having a female on the coaching
staff is critical at any age.  The female
presence on the court or field is comforting for female athletes, as they have
someone they can connect with.  Having
more women in leadership positions in athletics will be another step towards
equality for women. 

Samsel (2017)
quoted Donna De Varona, an Olympic gold medalist and Title IX advocate, which
perfectly described how far we have come since Title IX and how far we can go
as women today.  She stated,

The Passage of
Title IX 45 years ago changed the trajectory of American women, this
transforming our culture.  We found our
way into space, onto the Supreme Court and into the high echelons of
politics.  In the sporting arena, we
became visible affirmations of what is possible, offering up strong, confident
role models for future generations (Samsel, 2017, p.1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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