“Other than the constitutional right to vote, possibly no other piece of legislation has had a greater effect on women’s lives than Title IX.” —Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Triple Gold Medalist in Swimming, 1982 Los Angeles Olympics
In June of 1972, President Nixon signed the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which included Title IX, prohibiting sexual discrimination in any institution receiving federal funding. Title IX is, effectively, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Civil Rights Act ended discrimination in places of employment and public accommodation, it did not include institutions that might receive federal funding. And although Title VI of the original act did cover discrimination in these institutions, it left out sex as a potential discriminator. Today, it is best known as the amendment that grants women and girls the right to participate in high school and college athletics. 

When President Nixon signed into law the Education Amendments Act of 1972, few knew just how consequential Title IX would be. In just 37 words, Title IX launched a revolution in women’s sports.

Today, eight times as many young women are participating in college athletics than in 1972. In America’s high schools, more than 2.6 million young women are participating in sports, nine times as many as in 1972.

Watching eight-year-old girls round the bases on a softball field, or tuning in to cheer on Team USA in the Women’s World Cup, Americans see the legacy of Title IX playing out before them on a daily basis.

An Administration Dedicated to Advancing Women

President Nixon had always been surrounded by strong women—his mother, Hannah Nixon, worked along-side his father in the family grocery in the 1920s and 1930s, and his wife, Pat Nixon, was well known to be a self-made woman. In September 1969, he created a Task Force for Women’s Rights and Responsibilities to place women in positions in the federal government.

Barbara Franklin, one of the first women graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, was appointed to lead this program recruiting women for high level government positions. Her leadership resulted in nearly quadrupling the number of women in those positions and paved the way for women in both the public and private sector to break glass ceilings.

“…As I see it, women now are coming into their own, and if they play it right and if the rest of the country as the good sense to give them the opportunity, we’re going to be a stronger, more effective democratic country than we would be otherwise.” —President Richard Nixon
To commemorate the triumph of women in athletic, political and business arenas, the Nixon Library unveiled a new permanent exhibit. “Evening the Odds: Women Leading the Way” showcases the many milestone achievements of women from the 1960s to today. Detailed, behind-the-scenes accounts shed new light on President Nixon’s role in ensuring women had more representation in the executive branch in his administration and take a special look at the lasting impact of Title IX on women’s sports at public schools and universities. The Honorable Barbara Franklin will officially open the exhibit during a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX on July 23, 2022.