38th Anniversary of Title IX Brings New Enforcement Bills in Congress
Today marks the 38th anniversary of Title IX, a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in all levels of education. The legislation, which was originally passed in 1972, reads: "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." While most widely known for increasing women's participation in high school and college athletics, women's rights advocates now hope to use Title IX to increase gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, among other areas.
AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women), said in a press release yesterday, "We have seen a 900 percent increase in the number of girls playing high school sports. Imagine if we could increase the number of girls taking AP calculus and AP physics to the same degree? Title IX is about ending gender discrimination in all aspects of education." According to AAUW, women make up only 25 percent of the labor force in STEM fields.
Currently, there are two bills in Congress that would enable stronger enforcement of Title IX in athletics. The High School Athletics Accountability Act (H.R. 2882) and its Senate counterpart the High School Sports Information Collection Act (S. 471), would require the information and statistics on gender equity in school athletic programs be made available to the public.
As Title IX celebrates its anniversary, a legal case is pending in Connecticut debating whether or not cheerleading qualifies as a sport eligible to count towards Title IX equity requirements, reports the Washington Post. The trial, which alleges that Quinnipiac University violates Title IX by failing to provide equal opportunity to women athletes to participate in varsity-level sports, began on Monday.
Media Resources: AAUW Press Release 6/22/10; The Washington Post 6/23/0; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/23/09, 5/26/10