Summer 2012

40 Years of Title IX

This article originally appeared in Western Today on June 21st, 2012.

This Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972.  The law broadly prohibits sex discrimination in all educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Title IX is most commonly associated with its requirement that educational institutions give girls and women opportunities equal to those provided for boys and men to participate in athletics.  Indeed, its impact over the last 40 years on opportunities for college women in sports is substantial.  According to the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education’s recently released report, Title IX at 40:  Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education, in the academic year before Title IX was enacted, less than 30,000 women played college sports.  By the 2010-2011 year that number had increased more than 630 percent to more than 190,000 women.

Yet Title IX’s scope extends far beyond athletics. Among other things, Title IX prohibits sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, and employment discrimination based on sex, and requires equal treatment of male and female students in all classes and clubs.  Guidance from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights makes clear that bullying on the basis of sex or gender non-conformity may violate Title IX, just as bullying based on race, national origin, or disability may violate other federal civil rights laws.

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, the Equal Opportunity Office takes this occasion to remind the Western community of the broad scope of this law.  Sue Guenter-Schlesinger, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, serves as Western's Title IX Coordinator.  Individuals with questions about Title IX are encouraged to contact the Equal Opportunity Office at (360) 650-3307.

Page Updated 09.06.2012