Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the federal law that states: “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.”
This landmark civil rights legislation resulted in increased educational opportunities and athletic participation, changing the school life of girls and women across the nation. It also influenced the built environment for high schools and colleges across the nation. More opportunity for participation led to a need for expanded athletic facilities that could accommodate both genders, from expanded locker spaces to sports fields that could handle increased use.
According to statistics, six years after the enactment of Title IX, the percentage of high school girls playing team sports had jumped from about 4 percent to 25 percent. Today about a third of high school girls are involved in sports.
The really incredible thing is that research is showing that athletic participation in high school provides lifelong benefits.
A recent Brigham Young University study concluded that playing on a high school team increases young women’s odds of graduating from college by 41 percent.
Dr. Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has taken it a step further and demonstrated that the increase in girls’ sports participation that Title IX set in motion explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women. It had a direct effect on women’s education and employment.
To learn more about how this legislation affected educational and athletic opportunities, be sure to take a look at “Sporting Chance.” A documentary created by the NCAA in partnership with ESPN that debuts this weekend. http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2012-06-11/title-ix-documentary-debuts-june-23