"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." -- From the preamble to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
This page is designed to inform and educate the reader about Title IX and its effects. When I began this page I knew little or nothing about this important law that affects so many people each year. Since its enactment in 1972, Title IX has changed the face of athletics. There is much opposition to the law today, but my goal is for everyone who reads this page to have a better understanding of Title IX and the strides high school and collegiate women have made athletically. Please check out the links and contact me with any questions or comments that you might have. -- Heather Patterson, senior at ISU and site author.
Photo courtesy of Iowa State.
After some aggressive research, I came across two particular articles of interest to me. The first is a government publication that I encountered on the internet by US Department of Education Secretary Richard W. Riley called, "Achieving Success Under Title IX." The second is from Time Magazine in an article by Steve Wulf titled, "A Level Playing Field for Women." Both of these articles examine the changes that have taken place since 1972 and the effects of Title IX not only in athletics, but also in the number of women who continue their education after high school, the number of women who remain in school after an unplanned pregnancy, and the number of women who pursue an education in the fields of math and science.
In "Achieving Success Under Title IX", Riley discusses three main parts to the success of Title IX; increasing participation in athletics, increasing athletic scholarships, and opening up avenues of achievement through athletics. In his acticle, Riley talks about increasing participation in athletics, and the numbers alone speak for themselves. Over the last 18 years, the increase in the number of women competing in athletics is astonishing! In 1971, "fewer than 300,000 high school girls played interscholastic sports. Today that numer is 2.4 million." Not only are these women and girls competing more, they are competing in sports outside of the traditional few like softball, volleyball and track. Now more than ever, many female athletes are competing in the traditionally male-dominated sports of hockey, soccer, and wrestling. This is certainly great news for women, but it has not come easily.
After the passage of Title IX, it took more than a year for any scholarships to be awarded to women athletes. Since the first historical scholarships to a mere 15 women in 1973 at the University of Miami, more college women than ever before "receive about one-third of all athletic scholarship dollars." What does this mean? With the creation of Title IX and equity in scholarships, many women who otherwise may not have been able to attend college before can. This allows women to advance themselves in more ways than ever before. These scholarships open all kinds of doors and women everywhere are being recognized for their athletic abilities. Not only do these scholarships help women athletes, but along with the creation of equal facilities for women, Title IX has allowed for provisions much like those of their male counterparts. Title IX has encouraged many colleges and universities to spend much-needed money on creating or refurnishing the women's stadiums and athletic facilities.
Riley states, "80 percent of female managers of Fortune 500 companies have a sports background." This is yet another example of how sports play an active role in the lives young women and adults. The skills that one learns during the participation in athletics are priceless and an asset in life far beyond the practice fields and games. Young women and men who participate in sports learn "teamwork, standards, leadership, discipline, self-sacrifice, and pride in accomplishment", and they then carry these values with them as they go through life. Finally, parents are realizing that sports are just as much a necessity in the lives of their daughters as in the lives of their sons. With the creation of Title IX, the idea of women participating in sports is no longer an idea. More women than ever compete and excell in sports. They receive scholarships for their abilities and their parents encourage them to become involved in athletics. Colleges and universities are increasingly aware of the women athletes and they treat them with more respect and fairness than ever before. Finally, women have access to equal practice and training facilities, locker rooms and stadiums.
Riley, Richard W. "Achieving Success Under Title IX." Title IX: 25 Years in Progress. June 1997. Last modified July 9, 1997. http://www.ed.gov/pubs/TitleIX/title.html 5/24/00.
The second article I found while flipping through a May 1997 issue of Time Magazine was, "A Level Playing Field for Women", by Steve Wulf. In this article, Wulf discusses Title IX and the effects a young woman who fought for the gymnastics program at Brown University had on atletic programs as we know them today. This woman's fight helped to change the face of other women's sports, because she refused to have her program cut or her gymnastics scholarship ripped from her.
Back in 1991, Lisa Stern was awarded a scholarship for gymnastics at Brown, but shortly before she began her career at Brown, the school cut the women's gymnastics program. She and others filed a class action lawsuit against the university, and with it came the return of gymnastics and volleyball to Brown. In one of the most important cases involving Title IX, Stern's case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Finally, on April 21, 1997, after 6 years of fighting, Stern discovered that the Supreme Court ruled in her favor and that Brown had violated Title IX.
In 1991, Brown had also cut some of the men's athletic programs (golf and water polo) but these programs only amounted to about $16,000 of university spending each year. The difference was that Brown had been spending $62,000 on the two women's teams that were cut. Clearly, Brown was not establishing equality between the men's and women's athletic programs. According to Wulf, there are three standards enforced by the Office of Civil Rights within the Depatment of Education that colleges and universities should follow, "1) a close relation between the percentage of female athletes and the percentage of female students; 2) continual progress in the expansion of women's sports; or 3) matching athletic opportunites with the interests and abilities of female students." The Office of Civil Rights, however, has never enforced any of these standards and as a result, people like Lisa Stern have been forced to take legal action.
The problem many universities face is the unwillingness of many to cut back on football funding. If they would just reduce the spending, the remaining athletes and sports teams could have a fighting chance. It has even become such a large issue that, "according to one athletic director, eliminating 20 football scholarships would save his school a quarter of a million dollars." A quarter of a million dollars? Together, the women's gymnastics and volleyball programs spent much less than half of that figure. But people are coming around, and thanks to Lisa Stern, women are continuing to compete for equality and continuing to play their sports.
Wulf, Steve. "A Level Playing Field For Women." Time Magazine. May 7, 1997 Vol. 149 No. 18. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1997/dom/970505/sport.a_level_playi.html 5/20/00.
After reading an article titled, "The Gender Refs", by Elizabeth Arens, I was introduced to a new point of view on the subject of gender equality and Title IX. In this article, Arens examines the many men's teams that have been cut completely or reduced significantly to make room for, "gender equality." She begins by giving the University of California at Los Angeles as an example. This once champion team, was reduced to nothing in 1993 when the University was forced to "make room" for the women's soccer and water polo teams. According to Arens, teams like those at UCLA account for the more than 200 mens teams that have been eliminated due to Title IX during the past few years. To her, it seems that the Office of Civil Rights is only concerned with the "proportionality" of men to women and not whether schools are outrightly discriminating against them.
After the decison of Cohen vs. Brown is 1992, federal district judge Raymond Pettine ruled, "that as long as the proportion of women athletes was lower than the proportion of women students, Brown could not eliminate viable women's teams." This ruling was and is huge for women athletes and the colleges and universities that they play for. There are many people who believe there is not as much interest in women's sports as there is in men's and that laws in place now are not what women were originally seeking when they fought for equality in 1972. Men's teams are being eliminated, capped and slowly left to fend for themselves so that women can have more funding and more teams. "Penn State, San Fransisco State, the University of California at Berkley, and the University of Colorado are just some of the schools that have placed such caps on men's participation." Men are losing funding and opportunities mainly in sports like gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, and tennis.
The argument that Arens makes is that the men's teams are being cast aside left and right with no regard for the talent that their members possess, the academic standards that they hold or the history of the sport. Equality has risen to such levels that schools must do away with men's teams lest they add women's teams or increase funding to make it equal. With budget constraints and many cutbacks, it is simply easier for the powers that be to relieve the men's teams of their positions. There also doesn't appear to be as much interest in athletics from women. In fact, many of the numbers that universities work from when they calculate what is "proportional" don't take into account the non-traditional, older women students who would not be interested in playing a collegiate sport. This theory is supported by the evidence that Brown University submitted. "Among SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) takers who had requested that their scores be sent to Brown, 50 percent of the male students, but only 30 percent of the female students had expressed interest in participating in athletics." Brown also noted that the "proportion" of men in intramural sports, available to every student, is significantly higher than that of women.
In their efforts to make everything "fair" for women's athletics, men's teams have been damaged more than women's teams have been liberated. Universities, colleges and the goverment need to rethink their stance on Title IX and the true benefits that it provides. Who is the real winner in this situation? A few women athletes advance at the expense of several men's athletic programs.
Arens, Elizabeth.1997. "The Gender Refs." Policy-Review. N/D 1997:46-51.
Is there a "Title IX" in other countries?
Do women everywhere have the right to equality?
Athletics Australia --The homepage for Australian Athletics. Here is is possible to discover the latest 2000 Olympics rankings. You will find the history of women's track and field athletics in Australia if you check out the links or just click here. This site provides a look at the history of women's athletics and also is very up-to-date on the athletics of today. Learn about past and present Olympians or just athletes in general. This site is updated often.
Loughborough University -- Welcome to England! Loughborough University examines their "equal opportunity and general code of practice." This page is a small part of what is Title IX to us. It defines discrimination and reassures all minorities including women that they have equal rights and opportunities in regards to obtaining a fair education. Alos, find out the university's procedure for dealing with cases of discrimination.
Sadly, women everywhere do not enjoy the same freedoms that we do here in the United States. In many places, women are not allowed to attend a higher learning institution and the opportunity to participate in athletics of any kind is unheard of. However, women in the United States and other countries like Australia continue to set examples athletically for all women.
I chose this artwork by African-Canadian artist and poet Roxane A. Tracey because it represents women and the strength they possess together. The piece describes women as "queens" who conquer life, through whatever it may bring. The women in the work are of different races, but they join together like women ahtletes have, to accomplish more. It inspires all women, including athletes, to tough out the "wind, rain, and sun" and to, in a sense, become a team fighting for a common goal. Anything is possible when women surround themselves with other women. Tracey describes the bond women share perfectly, because we, as women, have nothing but each other and we must take advantage of that resource. Only women experience the same situations and we can learn from other women, both good and bad. While this work doesn't give information on where to find advocacy groups or educational tools for women and women athletes as other sources do, it promotes perhaps the single most important tool that women have access to, each other. The picture expresses the beauty and kindness that women possess, but also the strength and sisterhood that allow us to achieve anything.
Artwork courtesy of Roxane A. Tracey.
"I started rowing when I was 14 and in high school in St. Catharines, Ont. I did it for basically the same reasons that I do it today - to hang out with my friends. In school, everbody rowed; it was the "in" thing to do. I think all young people should pick a sport. If I didn't have rowing, I think I would have made a lot of different choices when I was young. The coaches, the other athletes steered my in the right direction. Thanks to them I have a very good life. I was in a very rough high school in St. Catharines and who knows where I might have ended up if not for rowing.
A lot of people who influenced me were members of the rowing team back in the early '80s when I started. I really admire Angie Schneider who won an Olympic medal in 1984 and then went on to get a PhD in Philosophy. There was Cathy Boyes, also on the '84 team, who has set up a successful rowing business and is the mother of three. It's incredible and inspiring how these people managed so much in their lives.
A big reason I've continued is that some lightweight events have been added to the '96 Olympics. Apart from that, I really enjoy the lifestyle as a rower. You get to hang out with a great group of people who continually strive for excellence and work very hard. It's a big sacrifice for me because I train in Victoria and my husband is in Ontario. But chances like this don't come very often and I think you have to make them to get them."
Wiebe, Wendy. "Insight - World champion Wendy Wiebe on role models." With permission from ACTION. Summer, 1995. Last modified 04/97. http://www.makeithappen.com/wis/readings/inwiebe.htm 05/31/00.
I chose this personal narrative because the author is a woman who plays a "non-traditional" sport like rowing. Because of Title IX, women's rowing has had a chance to grow and women like Wendy are given the chance to belong to a team and to excel in a sport that they enjoy. This narrative is a perfect example of how Title IX has given women the opportunity to have self-confidence and pride from knowing what one has accomplished. Wendy was given a healthier atmosphere during her high school career and she was taught many life skills as well. Women like Wendy are proof that Title IX works and that it has made a difference in the lives of women everywhere. This piece looks at how the opportunity to become involved in a sport like rowing helped this young woman. Other sources that I have covered are usually not in first-person and they don't examine issues like this on such a personal level. The personal narrative uses concrete examples of real women and real experiences to show the impact athletics have on women.
US Government -- Educational Improvement Reports and Studies. Numerous reports sponsored by the US Department of Education including several hot topics from adult education to homeschooling to women's education. There are lists of information and links about each. Truely a tool to learn, you can find new ideas, helpful information, teaching tips or technology here. This site is credible and very informative.
American Association of University Women -- Composed of three corporations, the AAUW was created for women by women. They fund research on girls and education, advocate for education and equity, and provide funds and support for women seeking restitution for sexual discrimination. This support and advocacy group can be of assistance to everyone. Find out how to join, what the AAUW is all about and how they are making a difference in women's lives.
Women's Studies Homepage -- Homepage to the Iowa State University WS 201 Summer Class. It describes what the course is about and what women's studies are. Teaching Assistant JoAnn Rogers and Professor Litt can be reached through this site. The homepage also provides links to many interesting and helpful sites related to women and women's studies.
University of Iowa Title IX Study -- This link is amazing! The University of Iowa has extensive information about Title IX and its effects on everyone. Dr. Christine H.B. Grant prepared this information for a presentation/debate at the 1995 NACWAA Fall Forum. Check out this great site with its many credible sources, studies including charts and graphs and other Title IX links.
Educational Improvement Reports and Studies, is published of the US Department of Education. The USDE is an expert because it has a major part in the education system here in the US. The USDE publishes information they deem appropriate for aid in learning. The purpose of the web page is to make aware its readers of the information available in regards to eduaction. The site clearly accomplishes this objective of informing with the numerous links to reports, studies and statistics. Links to this page include women's education and the report by Richard W. Riley titled, "Title IX: 25 Years of Progress."
The American Association if University Women is a national orgaization that provides education and equity for all women and girls. They are an expert on women and women's issues because the AAUW fights for equality and positive social change. They provide finanical assistance to women seeking higher education, and women seeking legal services regarding discrimination. This page is informational about the AAUW, how one can become a member and how one can become involved in the fight for women's equality. The site is easy to follow and provides some interesting ways for women to become involved. Although there are no links to Title IX, there are some excellent links to sites about gender gaps.
The Women's Studies Homepage was created by teaching assistant JoAnn Rogers. JoAnn is a woman in the process of completing her master's degree and has studied much about "Women's Studies" in her quest for higher learning. The purpose of this page is to inform the reader about the women's studies program at Iowa State University and also provides many links to resources regarding women. The site is very useful for those seeking to learn more about the women's studies program at ISU or the many avenues available for research and information about women's studies.
The material on the University of Iowa page was compiled by Dr. Mary C. Curtis and Dr.Christine H.B. Grant for an on-going research project and is maintained by the athletic department at the university. The purpose of the page is to be a resource that informs its readers about the current information about and statistics on Title IX. The page accomplishes its objective well by citing all information, updating regularly and accepting updates, leads, corrections and suggestions from its readers. Several of the links on this site pertain to Title IX.