This past Tuesday marks the forty-first anniversary of the Education Amendments of 1972. On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed the amendments which included the non-busing policy and Title IX.
Title IX had a broad but inconspicuous potential to its legislators, as court-order busing was Congress’s greater concern. Once it was passed, however, Title IX became a wide-ranging tool against discrimination based on one’s sex.
Title IX barred sex discrimination in any activity or program that received federal aid. This meant that women in the workplace, and in all aspects of education, would have protection from sexual harassment, unequal opportunities in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
The act has become a major achievement toward gender equity, having the most visible impact in women’s collegiate sports. Within the first three years of the Nixon administration, the national championship for women’s sports was announced to include gymnastics, track and field, swimming, badminton, basketball and volleyball.
When Congress passed Title IX in 1972, women received only 2% of the school athletic budget, there were no athletic scholarships for women, and fewer than 32,000 women competed in intercollegiate athletics.
Today, women competing at the college level now roughly represent 43% of college athletics nationwide.
Title IX has opened new possibilities for women and girls. In signing the omnibus education amendments, President Nixon, an advocate of equal opportunity, signed up the nation for greater academic, economic and employment opportunities.