This week, we're celebrating the 39th anniversary of Title IX. What is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about Title IX? You guessed it, athletics. Although Title IX has afforded women with great progress in athletics, most people don't know that Title IX protects against other forms of sex discrimination too.
So in honor of the birthday of this landmark law, here are 9 things you may not know about Title IX:
- Title IX bars sex discrimination in all education programs and activities receiving federal funds.
- Title IX requires schools to provide girls and boys with equal opportunities to play sports.
- Title IX prohibits education programs and activities from sex discrimination in employment too, protecting school staff as well as students.
- Title IX offers protections against sexual harassment of students by their teachers, other school staff, fellow students, and visitors on school premises.
- Title IX protects pregnant and parenting teens from being kicked out of school or excluded from school-related activities due to their pregnancy or parenting status.
- Title IX protects students from being barred from sports due to pregnancy or parenting. For example, a college cannot terminate or reduce a student’s athletic scholarship due to her pregnancy.
- Title IX requires that girls and boys be given equal opportunities in career and technical education programs like construction and engineering, fields traditionally male-dominated that pay better and offer better benefits than traditionally female fields.
- Title IX requires schools to adopt and disseminate policies prohibiting sex discrimination and harassment, develop and make known their grievance procedures, and designate a Title IX Coordinator who will oversee the school’s compliance efforts as well as take complaints.
- Under Title IX, schools cannot retaliate against students or teachers who report possible Title IX violations or raise issues of concern. Taking adverse action in retaliation for such conduct is itself a violation of the law.
Title IX protects all male and female students, and its mandate is broad.
Want to take action? Contact your school and ask about its anti-discrimination policies. Are there policies in place regarding athletics, sexual harassment, and the treatment of pregnant and parenting students? Do those policies seem fair? Are they being followed and enforced? If not, read up on steps your school can take to fall in line with Title IX protections. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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