Title IX

  • December 4, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    When the Supreme Court announced in fall 2011 that it would review the constitutionality of the landmark health care reform law, civil rights groups and constitutional experts tried to highlight the lawsuits' threat to  the expansion of Medicaid coverage -- and what it would mean if the Supreme Court adopted the states' arguements against the expansion. If the high court were to decide that Congress had overstepped its spending power by penalizing states for not joining in the expansion of Medicaid it could have a potentially profound impact on other progressive laws, such as the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

    Writing for Slate, Simon Lazarus and Dahlia Lithwick warned that if the high court were to side with the states’ argument against the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid (the states argued that they were being unconstitutionally coerced into expanding Medicaid) then other programs run by the states with federal dollars could be in jeopardy. The ACA sought to expand Medicaid coverage to adults below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. In a 2011 ACS Issue Brief, Lazarus, senior counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, described the states’ arguments against the Medicaid expansion as proposing “a radical upheaval in applicable constitutional law.”

    But the National Women’s Law Center’s Emily J. Martin in an ACS Issue Brief released today argues that the majority’s spending clause analysis from the high court’s ACA opinion from late June does not pose a danger to the major federal law aimed at stopping discrimination against women – Title IX.

    Title IX, in part, 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 receiving Federal financial assistance ….”

    Martin, vice president and general counsel at NWLC, provides great detail on why the Roberts Court’s spending clause analysis would not undermine the antidiscrimination law and also notes that even if Title IX were vulnerable to a spending clause challenge based on the ACA decision, it would still survive because it is an appropriate means for Congress to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.

  • June 22, 2012
    Guest Post

    By Lolita Buckner Inniss, a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. This is a cross-post from the blog, Ain’t I a Feminist Legal Scholar Too?


    This June marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Its principal provision reads as follows:

    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.

    Educational institutions from primary schools to universities who receive federal funding are subject to the law. Title IX is best known for having transformed the arena of women’s sports. Title IX, however, has a much broader reach: it applies also to sexual violence and sexual harassment. One of the more controversial aspects of Title IX jurisprudence is that sexual harassment is not only defined by persistent behavior but may also be found in a single episode. This latter fact is the subject of numerous critiques. But what is sometimes missed in such criticism is the full nature of even a “single episode” of harassment, especially within educational institutions.

  • April 28, 2011
    Guest Post

    By Neena Chaudhry, Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center


    On Monday, The New York Times released a poll, in conjunction with CBS News, showing that nearly half of Americans who are familiar with Title IX believe it needs stricter enforcement.

    The survey was conducted last month, but it would have been very interesting to see what the results would have been if respondents had first read the other New York Times Title IX piece that ran the same day: “College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity.” The article goes on to describe how athletic programs across the country manipulate their athletic rosters to artificially boost women’s participation numbers in order to claim compliance. 

    Title IX requires that schools receiving federal funds not discriminate on the basis of sex, including in sports.  Most Americans think it’s been doing a good job.  In the same Times/CBS poll, 78 percent of people familiar with Title IX said they believe it’s been a positive force for women’s opportunities in sports.

    It’s easy to see why. Since Title IX’s passage in 1972, women’s participation in collegiate athletics has increased to nearly six times the pre-Title IX rate. Multiple generations of girls have grown up shooting hoops and scoring goals, going on to earn college scholarships and represent their schools in competition.  

    Despite this progress, women still lack access to equal opportunities.  According to the NCAA, women in Division I colleges, while representing 53 percent of the student body, receive only 45 percent of the participation opportunities, 34 percent of the total money spent on athletics, 45 percent of the total athletic scholarship dollars, and 32 percent of recruiting dollars.

  • December 8, 2010

    Today is the National Women's Law Center's Blog to Rally for Girls' Sports Day, and bloggers of all sorts are contributing posts to communicate the message that equal access to sports benefits girls.

    "As the stories add up, they form a powerful narrative about the life of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs, including athletics," NWLC fellow Julie Murray wrote in an ACSblog guest post earlier today.

    You can find links to these stories on NWLC's blog, which is being updated with new links throughout the day. A number of NWLC staff have also contributed their own stories.

    Neena Chaudry, senior counsel for NWLC, says she first experienced humility and failure, and "how to learn from my mistakes."

    MomsRising blogger Amy Cross writes that Title IX was "shiny new" when she was a girl and she "lost out by not getting to play much sports" during a time when none of her girl peers played soccer, basketball or hockey.

    "I wonder if my life would have been different, had I just bent it like Beckham a few times," she writes, pointing to the benefits of sports participation cited in a report by the Women's Sports Foundation, which states, "It is no accident that 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies identified themselves as former ‘tomboys' - having played sports."

    A Rally for Girls' Sports Day post in AfterEllen.com notes a recent story that "is testimony to the fact that women who make a career of improving opportunities for girls in sports still have a long way to go - especially if they're lesbians."

    According to a report by the Tennessean, Belmont University women's soccer coach Lisa Howe may have been forced to resign because of her sexual orientation. Explains AfterEllen:

  • December 8, 2010
    Education Policy
    Guest Post

    By Julie Murray, Margaret Fund Fellow, National Women's Law Center
    Around the country today, bloggers are clacking at their keyboards, writing about the impact that playing sports had on their lives. Their collective efforts are part of the Blog to Rally for Girls' Sports Day, organized by the National Women's Law Center.

    As the stories add up, they form a powerful narrative about the life of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs, including athletics. Nearly all of us now know women and girls who had the chance to play sports and relished it. And we know that when asked, women often credit the chance to compete with shaping their physical, social, and even professional development.

    Nevertheless, many people still routinely argue that girls just don't want to play sports, so schools shouldn't be penalized for athletic programs in which they receive fewer opportunities to play than boys. The National Women's Law Center heard this argument repeatedly just last month when it filed administrative complaints with the U.S. Department of Education against 12 school districts around the country for violations of Title IX's requirement to offer equal athletic opportunities to high school girls and boys.