IX and America’s Schools
is good news and bad news regarding the status of women’s sports
in schools since passage of Title IX, the portion of the 1972
Education Amendments that prohibits sex discrimination in educational
institutions that receive federal funds.
On the positive side, there has been a four-fold increase in women
participating in sports, and changes in social attitudes have
led to acceptance of females in competitive and team sports (since
the 1920’s, physical activity to benefit health has been encouraged
for girls but competition frowned upon). Many more athletic scholarships
are offered to females, and Olympic berths are attainable. Women’s
intercollegiate sports that began in the 1970’s are now spurred
on by Title IX.
The bad news is there is still much resistance to the law, and
only 10 percent of American colleges are in full compliance. To
date, no school has lost federal funding because of non-compliance.
Also, the increase in visibility and funding for women’s sports
has led to interest from male coaches and a consequent decrease
in the number of women who coach women from 90 percent in 1971
to 50 percent today.
As explained at a recent meeting about Title IX at The Women’s
City Club of New York, the law applies to elementary and high
schools as well as colleges. New York City is supposed to offer
physical education to grades K-3, but only about 10 percent of
schools do. Facilities are generally inadequate and teachers unqualified.
The loss to students is significant because sports participation
can raise self-confidence, improve health, teach cooperation,
and according to recent studies, improve learning.
The intent of Title IX is fairness. It requires schools to give
male and female students equal opportunities to play sports and
to receive scholarship money. The three tests for compliance are:
proportionality (whether the percentage of males and females in
sports reflects the numbers of each sex in the total school population);
showing an ongoing institutional history of expanding opportunities
for female athletes; and providing females with sports opportunities
consistent with their interests and abilities.
booklet, Check It Out, outlines requirements of the law and how
to determine if an institution is in compliance. It can be ordered
free from National Women’s Law Center, Attn.: Check It Out, 11
Dupont Circle, NW. Ste. 800, Washington, DC, 20036.
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of
the publisher. © 2001.