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On June 23, 1972, Congress enacted Title IX of the Educational Amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It states, in part, that: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.i
Title IX applies to any educational program in an institution that receives any federal funding. This applies to the majority of schools in this country, elementary through university level. If educational institutions are found to be in violation of Title IX, they risk losing their federal funding. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education is the primary government office that enforces Title IX.
According to the specific regulations of Title IX, each school or entity that receives federal funding must have a designated Title IX compliance officer to oversee efforts and investigate any complaints that are filed. This individual's contact information must be made known to all students and employees of the institution or organization. Do you know who your Title IX compliance officer is?
Write to your U.S. representatives and state senators. Ask them to keep supporting girls and women in sports and Title IX.
i. 20 U.S.C. § 1681 – 1987 (198).
ii. National Center for Educational Statistics, 2004-2005; National Federation of State High School Associations, 2005-2006
iii. Cheslock, J. (2007). Who's Playing College Sports? Trends in Participation. East Meadow, NY: Women's Sports Foundation.
iv. NCAA 2003-2004 Gender Equity Report
Despite the significant gains girls and women have made since the enactment of Title IX, girls are still facing pervasive inequalities. In fact, at the high school level, girls receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than male high school athletes—a gap which has continued to grow in the past 5 years. Qualitative analysis suggests that high school girls still lag behind not only in participation opportunities, but in allocation of operating and recruitment budgets as well. But unlike their collegiate counterparts, high schools are not required to disclose any data on equity in sports-- making it difficult for schools, students and parents to identify sources of inequality and ensure fairness in their schools' athletics programs.
To address these disparities, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the High School Sports Information Collection Act. At the same time, a companion bill, the High School Athletics Accountability Act, was introduced in the House by Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-28th NY) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-2nd WV). These important bills require high schools to report basic information on the number of female and male students in their athletic programs and the expenditures made for their sports teams. This information will help schools to evaluate whether and where in their athletics programs inequities are occurring, and will provide students and parents the information necessary to assist their schools in remedying disparities that may be limiting equal access to athletics opportunities.
Much of this information is already kept by schools, including their participation rates, which they report annually to the National Federal of State High School Associations. This new requirement will make this important information transparent to the public. We need your help to ensure that Congress passes this important piece of legislation. Visit here to contact your congressperson and urge them to cosponsor the High School Sports Information Collection Act and to work to make its passage a reality this year. For more information on Title IX generally, also check out the following websites: www.nagws.org, www.nwlc.org, www.womenssportsfoundation.org, www.titleix.info.