Title IX turns 40 this week and there is no denying the landmark civil rights legislation permanently altered the educational landscape for girls across the country.
The Obama administration has noted the importance of Title IX and the opportunities it created.
By banning sex discrimination in schools, Title IX opened up a world of new opportunities ranging from athletic participation to access to education in science, technology, engineering, and math. Since 1972, athletic participation has increased over 1000%, creating more confident, empowered, and inspiring women. The Obama Administration is dedicated to furthering the 40 years of progress that Title IX has paved for us, from the $4.25 billion Race to the Top competition to close the STEM gap for girls, to honoring hardworking student-athletes like the Texas A&M University Women’s Basketball Team at the White House.
None of these accomplishments would be possible without Title IX. Indeed, my own career would not have happened had this civil rights law not been passed. Thanks to Title IX I had access to advanced placement courses, varsity athletics and a school environment that strove to be inclusive and free from an outwardly sexually harassing climate. Title IX prevented school administrators from steering me into clerical career paths and made it possible for me to letter in multiple sports.
But all of that is at risk as lawmakers attack the very foundation that built decades of economic and personal advancement for girls. Funding streams are in jeopardy and somewhere along the line our elected officials turned their backs on the basic notion that gender should not dictate opportunity and advancement in this country. So for Title IX’s anniversary let’s renew that commitment to basic equality of opportunity, to ideas of fundamental fairness and re-commit to our daughters, our sisters, our friends and fellow citizens that in the United States gender is not predeterminative of outcome or success.