Title IX is About More Than Equality in Athletics

Title IX Isn't Just About Equality in Athletics

Posted on 17 November 2015 |

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title ix equalityA common misconception about the Title IX law is that it only covers equality in sports. Men’s and women’s athletic programs receive the same amount of funding. The end.

But that’s actually not the end; it’s only the beginning.

Title IX covers a wide range of important equality issues – not just sports. It’s also not just about equality for women; it’s about equality in education for everyone.

So what other areas does Title IX cover?

Higher Education Recruitment and Admission

Title IX helps to ensure every student has the same access to higher education. In the past, women didn’t have equal access to higher education.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “in 1960 there were 1.6 males for every female graduating from a U.S. four-year college and 1.55 males for every female undergraduate.” Also, in the 1960s many Ivy League colleges didn’t admit women. For example, Yale and Princeton only began accepting female students in 1969.1

Today, no one can be denied admission because of their sex.

Educational Programs and Classes

Before Title IX, women were discouraged from studying STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and instead encouraged to focus on domestic fields such as teaching, homemaking and sewing.2

Under the protection of Title IX, every student can participate in the programs that interest them in any type of academic, extracurricular, research or occupational training.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

When the Title IX law was first enacted in 1972, the main focus might have been on equal participation requirements in athletic programs. But, over the years the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which oversees Title IX, updated the law to include more areas of protection.

In 1997, the OCR issued guidelines that included sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. Students could now file a complaint against their school, each other, teachers and third parties.3

In 2011 the OCR issued its latest Dear Colleague Letter to clarify school’s responsibilities regarding sexual violence under Title IX. The letter states that sexual violence is a form of sex discrimination and is therefore prohibited by Title IX.

To learn more about the history of Title IX and its protections again sexual harassment and violence, download our whitepaper, Title IX: Defined, Refined, and Intertwined.

Today, Title IX protects students from sexual harassment and sexual violence, which includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

Pregnancy and Parenting

Prior to recent Title IX law clarifications, pregnant students and parents faced numerous challenges gaining equal access to education. But as of 2013, the OCR provided guidance on the rights of pregnant and parenting students including:

  • Pregnant students have the same access to activities and special services as temporarily disabled students.
  • Students who are pregnant or parenting are not required to attend a separate school or program. And if they do choose to attend, the school or program must offer the same types of classes and activities.
  • Schools must excuse absences due to pregnancy and childbirth for as long as a doctor recommends.
  • Students that are pregnant or parenting are not required to turn in doctor’s notes to continue participating at school or in activities unless it’s a requirement for all students in the program.

Recruitment and admission; educational programs and classes; sexual harassment and sexual violence; and pregnancy and parenting are just a few of the coverages provided by Title IX – in addition to equality in athletics.

For more information, read about our Title IX training.


1 http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/living/sixties-women-5-things/

2 http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/NWLCItsYourEducation2010.pdf

3 Equal Rights Advocates

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