June 25, 2012

More on Title IX on it's 40th anniversary. The Daily Beast tells the story of how Title IX passed.  With support from Shirley Chisholm and trailblazing Congresswoman Patsy Mink, Portland Congresswoman Edith Green worked to pass the bill:

Nicknamed “Mrs. Education” for her many years of work on higher education, she was appalled to learn that public schools could create special programs for boys that excluded girls. At the time, girls were often discouraged from taking advanced math and science classes, female teachers rarely became principals, and many law schools and medical schools had quotas that kept women to no more than 10 percent of the class.

Karen Blumenthal later discusses the immediate changes:

With the door cracked open, girls and women rushed to embrace their new options. They stormed into law, medical, and veterinary schools, and female undergraduate enrollment surged.  Gradually, female sports teams gained a toehold, though athletes often had to beg for uniforms, equipment and practice space.

and the lasting impact:

Today, more than 3 million girls play high school sports, up from fewer than 300,000 in 1972. Women make up close to half of law school and medical school classes and receive well over half of all bachelor’s degrees.

But skirmishes continue. Budget realities—and the demands of football—mean that sometimes girls have teams and boys don’t. Men’s gymnastics and wrestling have been particularly hard hit. Still, though women are a clear majority on campus, men have more spots on college teams.  Enforcement has never been strict, and despite all the handwringing over four decades, no school has ever lost federal funding because of Title IX violations.


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