How Title 9 Transformed Women’s Sports
Title IX, the Gender Equality Act passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs. Its protection measures will open doors for girls and women into admissions, academic majors, educational positions, professional programs and individual classes, and help ensure equal access and treatment once they enter.
“This was at a time when there were a lot of barriers for women to advance or succeed in society,” says Karen Hartmann, associate professor at Idaho State University who has studied Law IX extensively. “The Educational Amendments Act, specifically Title IX, was trying to remedy some of these errors and provide more opportunities.”
However, despite its broad goals and applications, Title IX is most well-known for its impact on expanding opportunities for women and girls in sports. In 1972, there were just over 300,000 women and girls playing sports in universities and high schools in the United States. received math 2% of college sports budgets, while sports scholarships for women were almost non-existent.
By 2012, on the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the number of girls participating in high school sports across the country had increased tenfold, to more than 3 million. More than 190,000 women have competed in intercollegiate sports—six times as many as in 1972. By 2016, one in five girls in the United States was playing a sport. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Prior to the passage of Chapter 9, that number was one in 27.
“There was a way to watch women’s sports [as] Hartmann says. “But if you watch women’s sports today, their level of competition with men is often on a similar playing field. We are witnessing a sport that we have not seen before.”
Civil Rights Act and Gender Discrimination in Education
Title IX has its roots in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin illegal — but made no reference to discrimination on the basis of sex. Women were included in the Civil Rights Act only in Title VII, an amendment that addressed equal employment opportunity but did not apply to educational institutions, among other areas.
By the early 1970s, girls and women continued to face discrimination and inequality of treatment in many areas of education. Female students are often barred from certain male-only courses or fields of study, including everything from lumber shop and calculus to criminal justice, law, and medicine. Some US colleges and universities refused to allow women to enrol, or set quotas that limited the number of female students regardless of their eligibility compared to male applicants. Others, female professors, declined their positions, or refused to be appointed at all.
Issuance of the ninth chapter and its impact on sports
In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law. Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, who helped guide the bill through Congress, called him “An important first step in the effort to provide America’s women with something they are entitled to.”
By the time compliance with Section IX became mandatory in 1978, the law was already having an impact on the sport. In a June cover story, time mentioned The number of high school girls participating in high school competitive sports is six times what it was in 1970
“Women’s participation rates have been increasing every year since Law IX was passed in 1972,” Hartmann says. “We’re not only seeing how the sport has become more culturally acceptable for women to participate in, but how it has also increased their competitiveness.”
The law’s far-reaching impact can be seen at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where American women dominated sports from gymnastics to basketball to swimming. witnessed that year Largest group of US female Olympians in history, with a total of 292 women and 263 men. In 1972, only 90 women joined the US Olympic team of 428 athletes.
“It’s kind of like ‘If you build it, they’ll come,'” says Hartmann. “If you give chances, you see how competitive and athletic all bodies can be, no matter if they’re men or women.”
The controversy over the law
Organizations such as the NCAA have challenged the legality of Act IX, while others have argued that it should apply only to educational programs that directly receive federal funding.
In 1984, the Supreme Court approved this interpretation in Grove City vs BellEffectively removing Title IX coverage of athletics except for sports scholarships. The passage of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (over President Ronald Reagan’s veto) reversed this decision, and restored Title IX’s extensive coverage of any educational institution receiving any federal funds.
The nineties and beyond saw Continuation of legal challenges to Chapter NineIn addition to a number of lawsuits alleging violations of its protection measures. “Over the decades since it was passed, legal cases have attempted to provide more guidance on Title IX, and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has created compliance items for it,” Hartmann says. “This path has been bumpy for 50 years….[and today] As many as 80 per cent of higher education institutions are still not committed.”
According to Hartmann, controversy over Law IX often centers around misunderstandings of the law, such as the misconception that it requires quotas, or the idea that caused the decline of men’s sport. In fact, she says, participation rates for male athletes have increased steadily since the passing of Act Nine. Special Report Released to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX in 2012, it found that NCAA member organizations made net gains for nearly 1,000 men’s sports teams from 1988-2011
In 2021, as part of a A wave of lawsuits Submitted after US colleges cut their athletic programs due to financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, Clemson University’s men’s athletics teams and athletics won a historic settlementتسو To claim discrimination on the basis of Chapter IX. With a roughly equal number of athletes and athletes participating in Clemson sports in 2019-20, the plaintiffs argued, the cuts mean the university no longer offers an equal number of opportunities under the law.
Hartmann believes that the case provides further evidence that Act IX—while its ultimate promise may remain unfulfilled—continues to make progress. “This is the gist of a great anti-discrimination law,” Hartmann says. “Something that will bring men and women [together] To make sure there are ownership rights.”