New Report Evaluates Title IX’s Progress Ahead of 50th Anniversary

(Washington, DC) Today, in anticipation of Title IX’s 50th anniversary on June 23, 2022, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) which includes 35 organizations advocating for gender justice in education including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a report, “Title IX At 50”. The report takes a look at Title IX’s impact over the last half century, celebrating the significant progress to end sex discrimination in education, while recognizing the work that remains to be done. 

The report is divided into nine issue briefs, each of which explains a particular aspect of sex discrimination in education, including: sexual harassment; discriminatory discipline based on sex and race; LGBTQI+ students; pregnant and parenting students; athletics; gender- and race-conscious programs; sex-segregated education; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and career and technical education (CTE); and Title IX Coordinators. The report also traces relevant policy developments over the last 50 years, and offers a range of policy recommendations to address that problem. 

“Despite the tremendous progress toward gender equity in the last 50 years, students today continue to be deprived of their education because of sex discrimination,” said Elizabeth Tang, lead author of the report and senior counsel for education and workplace justice at NWLC. “Schools are not adequately protecting students from sexual harassment, sex- and race-based discipline, and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy or parenting status. Women and girls and LGBTQI+ students continue to face sex discrimination in athletics, in STEM and CTE programs, and in sex-segregated classrooms and schools. And there remains a vital need for gender- and race-conscious affirmative action programs in schools and greater support for Title IX Coordinators.”

The full report can be found here and executive summary here.

The following are statements from NCWGE:

National Women’s Law Center: “Title IX At 50 is a valuable tool for all education policymakers. Our report offers specific, concrete steps that Congress, the Department of Education, state lawmakers, and school administrators can take to make Title IX’s promise of ending sex discrimination in schools a reality for all students. If you share our vision of advancing gender equity in education, this report is for you.” – Emily Martin, Chair, NCWGE; and Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice, National Women’s Law Center

American Civil Liberties Union: “In its fiftieth year, Title IX continues to be a pillar in the movement for safety and gender equity in our nation’s schools and campuses.  But much progress remains to be made, including in the fight for parity in girl’s athletics, the rights of LGBTQI+ students, and the enforcement of racist and sexist dress codes. We have a responsibility to ensure our daughters do not inherit the same barriers faced by their mothers, and we’re determined to ensure Title IX is enforced justly and fairly to that end.” – Ria Tabacco Mar, Director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project

Athlete Ally: “At the 50th anniversary of Title IX, it is clear that tremendous progress has brought us to where we are today, and that significant challenges continue to impede progress. It’s critical that all of us working to champion gender equity in sport share an expansive understanding of Title IX and its inclusion of LGBTQI+ students, and particularly transgender and nonbinary youth. These young people have been facing an onslaught of legislative attacks against their human rights, including their access to sports and safe learning environments. Under Title IX, all youth should be able to not just survive, but thrive.” – Dr. Anna Baeth, Director of Research, Athlete Ally

California Women’s Law Center: “Great progress has been made in the 50 years since the enactment of Title IX, but far too many girls and women are still denied equal educational opportunities. Sex-based discrimination persists across all areas of Title IX, including against female athletes, survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and pregnant and parenting students, and girls and women of color face even higher barriers rooted in racial bias and stereotypes. This anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in the fight for gender equity and, more importantly, to recognize the critical work that remains to ensure that Title IX’s protections are a reality for all.” – Betsy Butler, Executive Director, California Women’s Law Center

Feminist Majority Foundation: “Much progress in decreasing sex discrimination can be attributed to federal investments in implementing Title IX such as the former Women’s Education Equity Act and state sex equity vocational education Coordinators. With expanded attention to Title IX protections for LGBTQI+ students and increased awareness of sex discrimination based on intersectional characteristics such as race, ethnicity and disability, we should celebrate Title IX’s 50th anniversary with renewed federal funding for Title IX Coordinators and their allies via leadership from the US Department of Education as specified in the Gender Equity in Education Act and the enforcement of Title IX by Civil Rights Offices at all levels of governance.” – Dr. Sue Klein, Vice Chair, NCWGE; and Education Equity Director, Feminist Majority Foundation

GLSEN: “We applaud the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies for affirming that civil rights protections based on sex include LGBTQI+ youth who must at minimum be safe at school and free from discrimination, bullying, harassment and other forms of victimization. Over the past 50 years, Title IX has been critically important to advancing gender justice for women and LGBTQI+ communities in education and beyond. To fully realize the promise of equal educational opportunity and to move closer to our vision of schools as places of liberation, we demand that all civil and education rights be kept whole. Today, lawmakers across the country seek to further discriminate, erase, and stigmatize through denigrating curriculum censorship laws and discriminatory legislation targeting transgender and nonbinary people. Our call to action to communities across the country is to rise up for civil rights for transgender, nonbinary, LGBTQI+, Black, Indigenous, people of color, people with disabilities and youth from all communities that experience marginalization who must be able to instead experience justice and thrive and reach their full potential.” – Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she), Executive Director, GLSEN

The Inclusion Playbook: In 1972, 37 words changed the game for women and girls in sports. As a queer Black woman and a former college athlete who benefited from Title IX, I know firsthand what it means to play and thrive in a safe environment. I also know more can and should be done to ensure the benefits of Title IX are equitably extended to all women and girls — regardless of race,  sexual orientation, or gender identity. On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we must vow to continue to push for full enforcement of Title IX to ensure that women and girls in underserved communities have equal access to sports, essential resources, and safeguards against discrimination. –  Ashland Johnson, President and Founder, The Inclusion Playbook

Legal Aid At Work: Women and girls have still not achieved equity in athletics.  While we celebrate the amazing progress that has been made over the last five decades, we must renew our focus on ensuring equality in sports.  Athletics equity is not just about fun and games, athletic participation improves critical health, educational and employment outcomes for girls and women.  – Elizabeth Kristen, Director Fair Play for Girls in Sports, Legal Aid at Work

Legal Momentum: “On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, as we reflect on the tremendous progress of the past five decades, we also recommit to seeing that Title IX fulfills its intention and purpose. This continuing work includes ensuring that student survivors of gender-based violence and pregnant and parenting students are not pushed out of their education, that discipline is meted out free from stereotypes and biases, and that LGBTQI+ students, particularly transgender and nonbinary students, have equal access to safe and supportive learning environments and activities. In this moment, it is critical that we remain vigilant to ensure that Title IX’s protections are not undermined.” – Jennifer Becker, Secretary, NCWGE; and Legal Director, Legal Momentum

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity: “While much has changed since 1972, we are still living with the remnants of past struggles for progress. On the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, we honor the milestone and also press for continued equity. With gender biases still present at all levels of education, we still have plenty of work to do in achieving equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and career and technical education (CTE) fields. As we advocate for and support the next 50 years of this landmark legislation, we hope to see agencies band together to enforce Title IX to ensure girls and women are safe and supported in all spaces.” – Brittany Brady, CEO, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

Society of Women Engineers:  “The 50th Anniversary of Title IX provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate hard-won gains.  But for women in STEM, there is still much to do.  Our recent 20-year review of STEM research revealed that women still face enormous barriers to achievement, success, and equity in school and career. This occasion calls for a recommitment to establish a safe and equitable culture in STEM education and the workplace that allows everyone to contribute and succeed.” – Karen Horting, Executive Director and CEO, Society of Women Engineers.

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) is a nonprofit organization established to educate the public about issues concerning equal rights for women and girls in education, monitor the enforcement and administration of current legislation, and conduct and publish research and analysis of issues concerning equity in education.