In honor of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which falls on June 23, Congresswoman Laura Richardson called on all Americans to join in celebrating the enormous advances America's women and girls have made due to Title IX over the last 40 years. Title IX was a bipartisan achievement -- passed by a Democratic-led Congress, with the leadership of Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI) and Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN), and signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
"At a time when universities barred the admission of women and when female sport teams were scarce, Title IX marked a momentous step forward for women's equality in the classroom and on the playing field," Congresswoman Richardson said. "In the 40 years since that historic day, Title IX has promoted equal access for women at elementary and secondary schools and at colleges and universities across the country. If it were not for Title IX, I would not have been able to play college basketball and compete for a spot on the U.S. Women's Basketball team for the 1980 Olympic Games."
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the federal statute prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Title IX is particularly known for its impact on athletics. Title IX is a standard that for 40 years has promoted equal opportunity for women in athletics and contributed to the athletic and educational achievement of hundreds of thousands of young women. Since Title IX's passage, the number of girls who compete in high school sports has grown ten-fold -- from fewer than 300,000 in 1972 to more than three million today. Similarly, the number of young women who participate in college sports has grown six-fold -- from fewer than 30,000 in 1972 to more than 190,000 today.
However, Title IX is not only about athletics. It affects all areas of education. Title IX has made it possible for women to pursue careers as lawyers, doctors, mechanics, and scientists. It is important in bolstering equal access to educational opportunities in a full range of academic subjects, including science, technology, engineering, and math; and also ensuring an academic environment free of sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and violence.
"In both athletics and education more broadly, while tremendous progress has been made to root out gender discrimination and inequalities, there is still a great deal of work ahead in order to truly level the playing field between men and women," Congresswoman Richardson said. "While progress has been made, I will continue to work with the Obama Administration and others to ensure that Title IX is vigorously enforced.