50 Years of Title IX 50 years ago this month, June 23rd to be exact, Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Back then, I do not believe people understand how big of an impact this Civil Rights Act would have not only on education, but in athletics. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 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.”Over the years, Title IX has grown to protect women not just in education and sports but against sexual harassment. Although it does operate to prohibit and provide guidance on dealing with sexual harassment, that does not define the essence of Title IX. Title IX is, and always will be, an equity law, and like other equity laws, Title IX should be employed in any forum in which it is needed. Title IX should be utilized to its full potential and not limited merely because of its narrow application in the past. Fortunately, we are seeing its scope broaden to meet current needs. For example, today’s Title IX is applicable in cases concerning gender identity and sexual orientation, making it an essential tool as we encounter unlawful discrimination and harassment of our LGBTQ+ community members.Over the past 50 years, Title IX has transformed women’s sports for the better. In 1972, there were just over 300,000 women and girls playing college and high school sports in the United States. Female athletes received 2% of college athletic budgets, while athletic scholarships for females were basically nonexistent. Today, over 3 million girls are participating in high school sports and over 200,000 are participating in collegiate athletics. Also, today 1 in every 5 girls are participating in female athletics in the United States as opposed to 1 in 27 before Title IX in 1972. Title IX has progressed female athletics, education, and safety. However, there is still a long way to go. So continue to support female sports and continue to be an advocate for all female athletes around the world! Are you a female athlete? We want to feature YOU! Tag us on Instagram @FITAID
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