What is Title IX? – The New York Times

On June 23, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed a comprehensive education bill that would change the path of millions of women and girls in the United States. At first glance, the scope conveyed by the words themselves can be difficult to recognize.

Title IX was part of a long list of educational amendments in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, buried amid anti-busing policies and federal financial aid funding schemes. In just 37 words, the statute guaranteed a means to ensure women’s equitable access to education.

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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Lawmakers used the Civil Rights Act to frame but intentionally downplayed the importance of the policy to ensure its passage in Congress. Fifty years later, Title IX continues to reverberate across the country, ushering in a new era of women’s sports and a framework for handling reports of sexual misconduct on campus.

“Part of the beauty of Title IX is its breadth and comprehensiveness. It’s a ban without creating an exhaustive list,” said Wendy Mink, whose mother, Rep. Patsy Mink, D-Hawaii, was one of the lawmakers who spearheaded the policy. Title IX’s official name was changed to the Patsy T. Mink Equal Educational Opportunity Act after Mink’s death in 2002.

“It’s open to interpretation and application,” said Wendy Mink. “He wanted to make sure that each of the interpretations was not only applied but enforced.”

The most visible changes were seen in the gymnasiums, fields and courts of the United States: young women were entitled to the same sporting opportunities as their male counterparts in schools. According to a Women’s Sports Foundation study, high school participation increased from 294,015 in the 1971-72 school year to 3.4 million in 2018-19 (boy participation was 3.67 million in 1971-72 and 4 .53 million in 2018-19). At the collegiate level, participation in NCAA schools increased from 29,977 athletes in women’s sports in 1971-72 to 215,486 in 2020-21. Men’s sports had 275,769 athletes in 2020-21.

“Not even my father could have predicted the profound impact it has had over the last 50 years,” said former Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana. His father, Sen. Birch Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, sponsored Title IX in the Senate. “I had hopes; he had aspirations,” said Evan Bayh. “I think he would be very pleased and pleasantly surprised to see what a difference he has made.”

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds in elementary, secondary, and higher education. Although the statute is brief, the Supreme Court and the US Department of Education have solidified its broad reach, including its jurisdiction over sexual assault and harassment on school campuses. According to the Department of Education, Title IX applies to some 17,600 local school districts and more than 5,000 postsecondary institutions, as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries and museums. It covers both students and employees.

Title IX became law in 1972, but the Office for Civil Rights did not adopt an intercollegiate athletics policy to determine enforcement measures until 1979.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights monitors compliance with Title IX and investigates multiple types of discrimination, including with respect to admissions, athletics, recruitment, discipline, gender-based harassment, scholarships, and sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Under Title IX regulations, any educational institution that receives federal funds must designate at least one employee to act as its Title IX coordinator. The coordinator is responsible for compliance, including the investigation of any Title IX complaint. The Department of Education has about 3,600 pending investigations, of which approximately 1,300 included a Title IX issue.

Schools are rarely stripped of their funds and usually resolve Title IX problems voluntarily.

Dr. Courtney Flowers, an associate professor of sports management at Texas Southern University and a co-author of the Women’s Sports Foundation report, said compliance could improve, as could deficiencies in sports not addressed in Title IX.

“Overall, we’ve all won,” Flowers said. “But sometimes, we have to recalibrate and make sure that in the next 50 years we’re not saying the same thing and advocating the same thing and figure out what fairness looks like now.”

While Title IX’s intentions to be broad and comprehensive have guaranteed the rights of many women and girls, white women have benefited the most.

Title IX does not directly address race, gender identity, disabilities, or characteristics other than sex. The Women’s Sports Foundation found that Asian, Black, Native American, Hispanic and other girls and women of color participate in sports at lower levels than white women. The same was true for women with disabilities compared to men with disabilities.

Women of color are also underrepresented in athletic leadership.

Title IX is the responsibility of the Executive Branch and is therefore subject to the interpretation of each administration. In 2021, the Department of Education said Title IX protections would be extended to transgender students, reversing a policy under President Donald J. Trump that essentially did the opposite.

The Biden administration is expected to formally announce the new regulations soon and they will likely look a lot like what was telegraphed in 2021. As proposed, the guidance would officially make the protection of transgender students a federal Title IX legal requirement. .

Still, it’s unclear what that might mean for sports participation, amid contentious debate across the sports world over whether transgender women should be allowed to compete in women’s divisions.

Some major sports federations have heavily restricted transgender women from competing in women’s divisions. FINA, the world governing body for swimming, has voted to ban transgender women from competing unless they have started medical treatment to suppress testosterone production before going through one of the early stages of puberty, or at age 12. , whatever happens later. It established one of the strictest rules against transgender participation in international sports.

almost 20 states have enacted laws or issued rules at the state level that prohibit or limit the participation of transgender people in sports.

For now, it is unlikely that lawmakers will specifically use Title IX to push for greater inclusion or exclusion of transgender women in women’s divisions. The law, essentially an education policy, has broad support from the public and from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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