Tomorrow is the fortieth anniversary of Title IX becoming law. Who knows where our favorite women’s soccer players would be today without the impact that this legislation has had on scholastic sports?
Major League Soccer is marking the anniversary with this web video, and ESPN released a series of YouTube interviews including Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, and Kristine Lilly.
But the effects of Title IX reach beyond athletics. It broadly states
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.
Based on its language, over the years Title IX has been used to defend Gay-Straight Alliances in high school. It has been used in cases of sexual harassment of LGBT teens since the mid nineties when the Department of Education updated its Title IX guidelines. In the last few years courts have even used Title IX in liability cases about LGBT bullying even when a sexual component is not involved. Out Congressman Jared Polis’ Student Non-Discrimination Act is directly taken from Title IX language.
So happy birthday Title IX. Take a moment this weekend to remember what it has meant to female athletics and all students facing inequality.