Title IX – What Is It and Why Is It Important?


“Title IX – What Is It and Why Is It Important?”

AAUW was instrumental in championing and supporting legislation for equality for women and girls in schools, colleges and universities, which led to the passage of TITLE IX in 1972. This important law was established “to ensure that male and female students and employees in educational settings that receive federal funding are treated equally and fairly”. It protects against discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment.

This law fundamentally changed how schools treat girls in the academic setting, but also in high school and especially collegiate sports programs. This law forced schools to change both funding and opportunities for equal involvement in sports programs. Before this law was enacted, the NCAA (National College Athletic Association) reported that women’s sports were only 2 percent of the budget for all sports programs in colleges and universities. This includes both participation in and scholarships for athletic endeavor.

At first, there was considerable opposition from administrations and coaches. Many of them felt that if they were to give women equal share in sports funding, then it would force schools to severely reduce or even eliminate some men’s programs. Rules were established for how the funding would reach the goals of equality and has been a tremendous success.

Is TITLE IX still relevant? The 50th anniversary of this legislation was celebrated on June 23, 2022. TITLE IX is much more than athletics. This legislation affects all aspects of education, including, for example:

  • Recruiting and admissions
  • Career and technical education
  • Comparable facilities and course offerings
  • Financial assistance
  • Student health and insurance benefits
  • Sexual harassment and assault
  • Harassment based on gender identity

In 2024 TITLE IX’s work is not done. In recent years, the Department of Education has worked to dismantle many of the TITLE IX protections, including harassment and violence. AAUW encourages support for the GEEA (GENDER EQUITY IN EDUCATION ACT), which would provide, in part, TITLE IX coordinators the resources, training, and technical assistance necessary to ensure that TITLE IX protections are not further eroded. It also would establish an Office of Gender Equity in the Department of Education.

For further information, please go to both the national and California websites. There is a fact sheet on the national website, published in 2022 with the history and developments over the last 50 years of this landmark law. I would like to encourage our members to educate yourselves regarding issues of the ongoing work for equality for women and girls. If you wish to do more, please contact Kathy Papst (my contact information can be found in the Membership Directory) and I will help you to become involved at the branch level to contribute and support this and other Public Policy issues. Thank you.