5 Ways, Title IX, Transformed School Sports (and more)

Fifty years ago today, Title IX of the 1972 Education Changes was signed by President Richard Nixon. The purpose of the civil rights law was broad: to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex when it comes to “any educational program or activity receiving federal funding.”

Although the law applied to all educational programs, it marked the beginning of huge changes when it came to women’s participation in high school, college and, in addition, professional athletics. It is now entering new territory as a means of securing the place of transgender students in athletic teams that match their gender orientation. For the 50th anniversary of Title IX, here are five remarkable ways in which the law transforms school athletics:

  1. Women’s participation in sports has increased.

    Since the entry into force of Title IX in the 1970s, more women have chosen to take part in high school sports, with the number growing from less than 300,000 in the early 1970s to approximately 3.5 million students in the 2018-2019 school year (the last full year for which data is available). According to the National Federation of High School Sportsas many as 43 percent of high school athletes are women.

  2. The act has been used in recent years to protect transgender student-athletes

    Title IX is at the forefront of the debate over transgender student-athletes and their rights. According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, 14 percent of transgender boys and 12 percent of transgender girls play on a youth sports team. The same report shows that 82 percent of “transgender and expansive young people” have chosen not to reveal their gender identity to their coach.

    The current debate tends to spark a significant debate over whether transgender women should have the right to compete in the same spaces as cisgender women.

    “Educational sports are part of the school curriculum [and] are a way for students to develop strength, but also to develop deep relationships, self-confidence, teamwork and a whole host of really important individual characteristics, ”said Jennifer Levy, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. “So the discussion about sports is looking for ways to ensure that all students have these opportunities, including competition.”

    Last June, the US Department of Education announced that Title IX covered the rights of transgender people. Despite the statement, 19 states have imposed restrictions on transgender athletes, according to the Associated Press.

  3. Title IX is used to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    While Title IX does not explicitly mention the protection of the rights of the LGBTQ + community, the Biden administration interprets it to include the rights of gay and transgender students. Executive Order 13988 stated that “all people should be treated equally according to the law, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation”.

    This is based on 2020 US Decision of the Supreme Courtwhich protects gays, lesbians and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

  4. Schools are now expected to have Title IX coordinators and services to deal with cases of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and violence.

    The job of the Title IX Coordinator and / or the Office is to ensure that the act is implemented and that students are protected from discrimination based on sex and can report cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus.

    “Unfortunately, this is still not observed everywhere. I think different school districts have different levels of attention, which they have drawn to the problems of Title IX, “said Emily Martin, vice president of education and workplace justice at the National Center for Women’s Law. “This is one of the reasons why enforcement remains very important … because of the knowledge that there is some responsibility if you violate Title IX.”

  5. Title IX protects against gender discrimination in both extracurricular and extracurricular activities.

    According to the NFHSTitle IX protects students from discrimination based on their sex in school curricula ranging from “STEM proposals (science, technology, engineering and mathematics”) to “fine arts courses” and prevents “gender bias in gender and programs outside of it by those explicitly authorized in the regulations for the application of the law. ”

    This stipulation becomes even more important when placed in the historical context of the 1970s, when the act was adopted. “It was very common, for example, for girls to be sent to home economics class, while boys were sent to class for shopping. It was not uncommon for school counselors to discourage girls from certain courses or plans for their future, because … it was a given that they would probably just get married anyway, ”said Martin of the National Center for Women’s Law. “It was [also] very often PE segregates by gender. “

Title IX has come a long way in the last 50 years, but defenders say there is still work to be done. Martin said some of the upcoming issues include: continuing efforts to tackle sexual harassment in schools, respecting the rights of pregnant and parental students, maintaining a focus on including LGBTQ + students and recognizing the unique experience of black girls in schools; and the ways in which racial discrimination and gender discrimination intersect.

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