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Front Page Talking Points


America marks 50 years of Title IX, a law that opened doors for women in sports and beyond


1.gifShare a quote or fact from coverage of Title IX's impact.

2.gifShow another example of how sports is about more than game scores.

3.gifLook for a photo or mention of a female athlete you admire. Tell why she inspires.

A 37-word U.S. law enacted a half-century ago this month transformed women's access to education, sports and more. It's called Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and is commonly known as Title IX (the Roman numeral for 9). The landmark legislation, which bars sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools and education programs, coincided with enormous growth in educational attainment for American women and has been applied toward reducing sexual violence on campus and promoting transgender rights in recent years. But athletics have been at its center from the start.

In 1971, the year before Congress passed Title IX and President Richard Nixon signed it, fewer than 300,000 girls participated in high school sports nationwide -- just 8 percent of the total for boys. Women also had few athletic opportunities in college. That began changing quickly after Title IX went into effect. enormous growth in the number of women in high school and college athletics — more than three million today — led to the increasing professionalization of women's sports, particularly basketball, golf, tennis and soccer.

As a result, more girls and young women gain strength, confidence, teamwork and leadership skills, and other lifelong benefits that are applied in Olympic sports, military service, careers and political offices. "Thanks in no small part to the confidence and determination they developed through competitive sports and the work ethic they learned with their teammates, girls who play sports are more likely to excel in school," Barack Obama wrote in a commentary on the law's 40th anniversary in June 2012. Obama, president at the time, added: "Title IX ensures equality for our young people in every aspect of their education. It's a springboard for success." In a symbol of the impact, the NCAA men's and women's basketball seasons that begin this fall will end with Final Four games at the same Dallas arena for the first time – billed as "a 50th-year celebration of Title IX."

The law’s full text: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Coach says: "My entire professional career has benefited from Title IX." -- Shelia Burrell, a two-time Olympian who is head cross-country and track and field coach at San Diego State University

Retired official says: "It has not been quick, easy or undramatic, but there has been enormous progress." – Margaret Dunkle, who worked at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the 1970s.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2024

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

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