How Title IX has Opened Opportunities for Women in Sports and Education

Title IX has given women equitable opportunities in athletics and education

In schools across the nation the federal civil rights law of Title IX is enforced. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education and activties. While Title IX is commonly known for providing equitable opportunities for women to participate in sports, it also gives them more educational opportunities. Women were often encouraged to pursue more ¨feminine¨ hobbies rather than pursue athletics, or education in math and science fields. This resulted in inequitable opportunities for women to participate in sports and certain educational pathways. As a result, women protested and lobbied Congress to have sex as a protected class category, leading to the enactment of Title IX. On June 3, 1972 President Nixon signed Title IX into law.


Before Title IX was enforced many colleges and universities limited the number of women that were allowed to attend or excluded them entirely. Admission offices analyzed womens´ applications with scrutiny as they believed that women would have more interest in marriage and becoming a mother rather than pursuing an education. However, the enactment of Title IX has allowed women to prove that it is possible to be a mother and have a job. Women were also often excluded from studying majors that involved science and engineering and were rather encouraged to pursue more nurturing jobs such as teaching, nursing, and home economics. Under Title IX, educational opportunities opened for women allowing them to study all academic fields and choose majors that best suit their interests. 


Since the enactment of Title IX women’s participation in sports has risen drastically. According to the New York Times, in 1971 – 1972, only  294,015 women actively participated in athletics. In more recent years (2018-2019) that number has grown to 3.4 million women. The various athletic opportunities that Title IX provides for women allows them to receive significantly more athletic scholarships. As stated by The Washington Post, while men still receive more athletic scholarships today than  women, the athletic scholarships awarded to women not only allows them to pursue their passion, but also allows them to pursue an education. Before Title IX women were often denied financial aid and scholarships; nonetheless, athletics has served as a means to help broaden their educational opportunities. 


Through the government’s goal to provide more athletic opportunities for girls, Title IX requires schools to allow girls to try out for a boys team if a girls team does not exist for that sport, if girls are underrepresented in that sport, and if that girl has the skills and abilities to participate on the boys team. In accordance with the Women’s Sports Foundation:


¨Boys should be allowed to play on a girls’ teams only when there is no team for boys offered in that sport, boys are underrepresented with regard to total athletic opportunities, and the strength and skill levels of the boys are comparable to those of the girls. Boys cannot participate on girls’ teams when there is no team offered for boys in the sport if girls are underrepresented in the sports program. While courts have found girls have the right to compete on boys’ teams under the EPC and Title IX, the courts have not granted boys the same access to girls’ teams.¨  


Courtesy of Women fighting for Title IX to be enacted

AsThis image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. successful as Title IX has been, many believe there are still modifications to be made to the law. Title IX does not explicitly address discrimination against race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Title IX only directly addresses discrimination between sex and there is no denying that discrimination against race, sexual orientation, gender indentity, and disability exists. Many people believe that in order for Title IX to be truly nondiscriminatory these modifications must be made to ensure equity in sports among everyone.