EDITORIAL: 50 years of Title IX

·2 min read

Jun. 23—Title IX made a significant impact since being signed 50 years ago.

Thursday marks the 50th year since Title IX was signed into federal law as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 to protect women from discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding.

Dr. Janet Wansick, the first female president in Eastern Oklahoma State College's 114-year history, told us she dropped off her granddaughter at a basketball camp this week and it prompted her to reflect on Title IX's impact.

Wansick said some students and young people never experienced a time before Title IX expanded access and equity for women 50 years ago — which she said is progress.

"It wouldn't have dawned on them that women couldn't play sports years ago, it wouldn't have even dawned on them that they couldn't come and take whatever classes they wanted to take," Wansick told us. "So I mean, to me, I think that's the benefit is being able to have these kids that don't know that it was ever an issue."

Generations now grow up with women having more access and equity than before Title IX was signed.

Title IX made a significant impact in sports with more women participating in sports at every level — probably the most popular impact even though its authors aimed to protect women from sex-discrimination across the board in education.

Compliance with Title IX brought improved access and equity for women in recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, housing, curricular material, services and much more among schools.

Those improvements at schools led to more opportunities for women. Women earned 10% of doctorate degrees in 1970, but now earn 54%.

Of course, many challenges still remain.

Males receive higher rates of athletic opportunities and the vast majority of athletic scholarships at most NCAA schools. Women comprise only 15% of athletic directors in Division I and 21% of athletic directors across all divisions.

While the gains aren't perfect, Title IX set the course toward progress in access and equity for women — and it's worth celebrating.

—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board