In the 50 years since Title IX went into effect, the number of women earning degrees has soared and has had a significant impact on women's sports.
Title IX was passed in 1972 as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It aims to stop discrimination based on sex, race or nationality in schools. Any federally funded school is required to follow Title IX. The rules range from appropriately resolving sexual harassment complaints to offering equal access to athletic and education programs.
Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh was inspired by his wife Marvella and her experiences with gender discrimination in education. After graduating high school, Marvella was not allowed to apply to her dream school, University of Virginia, simply because she was a woman.
With Rep. Patsy T. Mink as the major author and Bayh as a co-sponsor, Title IX was signed into law. Since then, a few amendments to the bill have been added, which include universities being required to have a sexual harassment response system, prohibiting universities from cutting women’s teams due to decreased interest, and allowing women on men’s teams.
In 2021, President Biden officially added Title IX protections for LGBTQ+ people, making it illegal to discriminate against anyone for their sexuality or gender identity. Though the law has opened many doors, people are still facing discrimination to this day.
The ACLU of Indiana has won multiple lawsuits regarding Title IX violations, including bathroom restrictions for transgender students at Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, Valparaiso Community Schools, and Vigo County School Corp.
Recently, The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit challenging HEA 1041, which bans transgender girls from participating in school sports. The lawsuit says that stopping transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports is in violation of Title IX.
The ACLU is committed to ensuring schools do everything in their power to safeguard students' rights. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, it is vital that Title IX live up to its promise. No student, whether in grade school, high school, or university, should be denied or limited educational opportunities because of sex.