Title IX advances women


(Kellyn Borst The DVC Inquirer)

Imagine female students not being able to play sports. This was the 1960s.

At this time, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, which helped energize feminism once again in this country.

With this new feminist movement in full swing, gender equality progressed by leaps and bounds.

In 1972, Congress passed a potential amendment to the Constitution. Known as the Equal Rights Amendment, the first section simply read, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” However, only 35 of the required 38 states ratified the amendment before the deadline.

Only in the United States can common sense not pass a two thirds vote.

Around the same time Congress passed a less radical law: the Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, also known as Title IX. Title IX granted equal opportunity for both sexes in regards to educational programs, but its lasting legacy is that it allowed women to take part in school sports.

While this may sound surprising, it turns out that allowing women to play sports in high school and college (as well as funding sports programs for women) does a lot for gender equality. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s 1995 publication “Empowering Women in Sports,” high school girls who play sports earn better grades and aspire to be leaders more than their non-athletic counterparts.

The publication also notes that “expanding sports opportunities for women and girls will help achieve the feminization of power in all realms.” In other words, today’s female softball and soccer players are tomorrow’s senators and CEOs.

One effect this has had can be seen in the student population. Tara Parker-Pope wrote in a blog for the New York Times that Title IX “explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women.”

Additionally, Liza Mundy’s Time Magazine article “Women, Money and Power” reported that Census Bureau data from Reach Advisors revealed that “single childless women ages 22 to 30 in the majority of large U.S. Cities now have a higher median income than their male peers.” Note that a 30 year old woman in 2010 (when the Census was done) would have been born in 1980 and thus within the first generation of students to grow up with Title IX.

Hard to believe that less than 40 years ago, there used to be a labor law in California that didn’t allow women to work in occupations that required lifting more than 30 pounds.

We have come a long way since the 1960s and many of the myths of patriarchy have been washed away by time, education and persistent activism.

Having women test their physical limits and leadership in sports is just one part of making a better society period.

Gender equality is a no brainer; women and men are equals. The world will be a better place when we realize this truth.