Title IX's Impact on Women's Sports Was Unforeseen:
Signed by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, Title IX became the law of the land on July 1, 1972. Because it did not specifically address athletics, its impact on women's sports in high school and college was not anticipated at the time of its passage.
See What is Title IX? and What Does Title IX Cover?
The Two Women Behind Title IX:
Co-authored by Rep. Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-Hawaii), the first minority woman in Congress, and Rep. Edith Starrett Green (D-Oregon), Title IX had its roots in the ongoing gender bias experienced by both women in their personal and professional lives.
Gender Bias Altered Mink's Career Path:
Being female prevented Patsy Takemoto from playing full court basketball in high school as it was deemed too strenuous for girls. In 1948 she applied to medical school but after 12 rejections opted for law school instead. Later, armed with a law degree, she was nonetheless turned down by a Honolulu law firm because she was a woman.
Gender Bias Diverted Green's Aspirations:
Initially drawn to a career in electrical engineering, Green was discouraged from pursing her dream because of her gender. As a politician, pay equity and gender equality in postsecondary education became the focus of her concerns. As the chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education of the Education and Labor Committee, she notably said, "Let us not deceive ourselves. Our educational institutions have proven to be no bastions of democracy."
Gains For Women in Education and Sports:
With the passage of Title IX came the support women had been lacking in higher education. Rates increased for women obtaining degrees in law, medicine, science and engineering. And the growth in women's athletics disproved the prevailing belief that women weren't interested in playing sports.
A More Level Playing Field:
The proof of Title IX's impact lies in the statistics. Before Title IX, at the high school level boys outnumbered girls in sports at over 10 to 1 (under 300,000 girls as compared to 3.6 million boys.) Fast forward to the school year 2007-2008 -- 35 years later -- and at the high school level, the 4.3 million boys playing sports are almost matched by the over 3 million girls involved in athletics. Funding for women's sports, scholarship money, and opportunities have also increased many times over.
Title IX Renamed:
And one of the two women who make it all possible, Representative Patsy Mink, was honored posthumously for her efforts in breaking down barriers for women. After her death on Sept. 28, 2002 Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.
Lee, Stanley. "Mink's legacy extended far beyond playing field." Honolulu Advertiser. 12 July 2009.
Lopiano, Donna. "Title IX Q&A." Women's Sports Foundation. 26 May 2005.
"Edith Starrett Green." womenincongress.house.gov. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
"History of Title IX." TitleIX.org. Retrieved 9 October 2009.