2022 brings the 50th anniversary of the gender equality law

Charis Lafata, Sandscript Author

2022 marks the 50 Year Anniversary of Title IX. Title IX is most notably associated with sports and athletics, but this law goes far beyond that. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive statute that prohibits sex discrimination in all federally financed educational institutions, including high schools and middle schools, in all programs and activities. Simply,  this means that regardless of gender, all students in a school should have equal opportunity.

Title IX was developed to level the playing field between men and women in sports. In 1972, just 30,000 women competed in NCAA athletics, compared to 170,000 males.

Athletics are the most directly impacted landscape when it comes to Title IX. According to the law, it mandates schools receiving federal funding provide equal opportunity for male and female athletes. This means they must have access to the same equipment and supplies, as well as the same coaches, locker rooms, practice and competition venues, and medical and training facilities and services.

The most widespread misunderstanding is that Title IX is exclusively beneficial to female athletes. It protects both male and female students, as well as instructors and staff. It aims to achieve equal representation in all aspects of education, not just athletics.

Title IX is significant because it ensures that men and women compete on equal ground. Women were given the same opportunities to participate in sports as men for the first time.