Rethinking Title IX On Its 42nd Anniversary

by Caelan

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 that states “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.” This act was co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh and was renamed the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in 2002.

However on the 42 Anniversary of Title IX we’ve been urged to not just celebrate but to rethink of it is being enforced on college campuses.

Independent Women’s Forum managing director Carrie Lukas released the following statement “It’s been forty-two years since Title IX was created. It’s time to rethink how this law is being enforced on college campuses and its consequences.

“The law was supposed to be about ensuring that women have equal opportunity to participate in all the programs and activities offered by educational institutions. Including on the athletic field. That was a very worthy and important goal… but sadly the government embraced an enforcement policy for Title IX that acts as a defacto quota system that forces schools to try to manufacture equal outcomes, rather than provide equal opportunity even if that means eliminating opportunities for men to make numbers work under the current interpretation of the law.

Men and women’s interests aren’t naturally in conflict and we should be seeking to develop an educational system that encourages both our young women and men to make the most of their talents. That requites reforms to Title IX enforcement to refocus government’s oversight on preventing discrimination rather than encouraging discrimination in order to achieve their definition of balance.”

SO, if you are like me and have little understanding of what this means, let me break this down for you:

  • Title IX was invented to give women an equal opportunity at sports education and to make sure they are not being excluded from participation or benefits of any educational program requiring federal assistance.
  • This bill was created around the same time the equal rights amendment, which means that obviously discrimination against women was and is a serious issue plaguing our society.
  • HOWEVER, with budgeting issues instead of providing more sports for women due to the proportion clause of the title, they are apparently eliminating sports for men.

This article is urging that we relook at the way the law is structured so that we can make things fairer and not necessarily proportional. I know at my school, The University of Hawaii at Manoa, it feels like there are more opportunities for women in terms of the variety of sports because the funding for men’s athletics goes towards the big four sports: Football, Baseball, Basketball and Volleyball.

Now, I’m really no sports expert, but I think Title IX is still worth celebrating due to the impact it made towards gender equality and equal opportunity for college athletics. Because of Title IX so many female athletes we’re able to afford college and kick some major ass in their chosen sports and I think it’s not something to completely overlook.

SPEAKING OF THINGS OVERLOOKED. Title IX is something worth celebrating because Title IX is not just about gender discrimination throughout sports. The website is a great resource that breaks down the law and what it does to protect all of us and all of our rights.

Title IX is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender based discrimination and sexual violence. This violence refers to sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal, or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse and intimate partner violence.

Title IX isn’t just for women but works to protect everyone against gender-based discrimination for students and faculty and it is very important, in fact I’m gonna be bold here and tell you that I believe protecting students from gender based sexual discrimination is a bit more important than protecting men’s wrestling? Maybe, just maybe?

And while I may be slightly partial because Representative Patsy Mink who co-authored the bill is from my home state of Hawaii, I still think this bill is quintessential in working to make our country more safe and equal. 

Learn more about title IX here


Photo credit: UH athletics

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