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50th anniversary of Title IX

Alan Flurry

Title IX was part of the federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed on June 23, 1972 as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

The purpose of the Title IX of the Amendments was to update Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned several forms of discrimination in employment, but did not address or mention discrimination in education. Though the creation of Title IX had nothing to do with sports, there is little doubt that Title IX has had great impact on our campuses and our society through the lens of publicly supported athletics:

Fewer than 300,000 girls played high school sports in 1971-72, before Title IX was enacted, according to a report from the National Federation of State High School Associations. That number increased more than tenfold by 2018-19, to 3.4 million. Yet surveys from 2010 to 2015 find that among 12th-graders, the percentage of girls who participate in high school sports (60 percent) still lags behind that of boys (75 percent), according to a report from the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Women’s participation in college sports also has soared since Title IX. Today, women account for 44 percent of NCAA athletes, compared with 15 percent pre-Title IX, according to the WSF report. Yet women are still underrepresented among college athletes as they made up 58 percent of undergraduate students in 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A society that becomes a little more equal, a little more equitable, a little more just, creates room for more equality, greater equity, and gets closer to the goal of justice for all. We are proud of and inspired by young athletes at all levels who integrate sports with scholarship. We acknowledge this important date and benchmark, as we also re-commit to the work of building greater educational opportunities for women and girls.

Image: Members of the U-Conn. women's rowing team (Brad Horrigan/AP), via The Washington Post


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