Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Huge Success Of Title IX
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.
In other words, no school receiving federal funds could discriminate against women by offering more programs to men than to women, including athletic programs. This caused a furor among many in this country. They said it would destroy athletic programs for men (namely the hugely popular and financially successful football and basketball programs for men). There were even efforts in Congress to exclude the "revenue sports" from the new rules. Fortunately, all efforts to water down Title IX were unsuccessful.
What has been the result? Well, men's sports were not hurt at all. They are just as popular (and financially successful) as they ever were. But the law has created a huge boom in women's sports -- and in the participation of women in those sports. This huge growth has been at all levels, from high schools to college to the professional level (and of course, the Olympic level). And the sports-viewing public has embraced women's athletics as it continues to grow. Can any of you who watched the recent Olympics truly say you did not enjoy watching the women athletes as much as the men?
The chart above, from Mother Jones, shows the effect Title IX has had on women's participation in sports since it was passed (especially in the Olympics). The truth is that equality works -- and it works for all of us. We should be working to make more people in this country equal, not less. Because when people are equal, they are given the chance to succeed -- not just in athletics, but in all kinds of endeavors.
I also liked the chart below. It seems that the majority of medals won by the United States Olympic Team were won by women. And if the U.S. Olymic Team women were a country, they would have finished in fifth place among all countries. That's pretty impressive.