Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. This includes one’s biological sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.

“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 educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Title IX was passed after Bernice Sandler filed a series of formal complaints against numerous institutions and universities for their discriminatory hiring and employment practices. She provided data to show that these institutions discriminated against women, which contradicted President Johnson’s Executive Order requiring institutions that received federal funds to abolish sex-based discrimination in hiring and employment practices.

By collaborating with various legislators and women’s rights organizations, Sandler spearheaded congressional hearings that led to the passage of Title IX in 1972. The law is enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which also processes Title IX violation complaints.

In 2017, Title IX turned 45 years old. Despite its age, Title IX is often called a “living law” because it has been the subject of more than 20 proposed amendments, reviews, Supreme Court cases, and other political actions since it was passed.


Why Is This Important to NAPE?

Although Title IX is most known for its impact on women’s representation in high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no explicit mention of sports. In fact, Title IX’s original emphasis was on equal hiring and employment practices. The law applies to every aspect of education, such as admissions, recruitment, academics, employment, athletics, student services, and sexual harassment / violence in schools. Its prohibition against sex discrimination is therefore very broad, protecting both female and male student athletes, pregnant and parenting students, students entering non-traditional career paths, victims of sexual misconduct, faculty, and staff, in federally funded education programs.

Current Status

January 30, 2019: NAPE Statement to the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education on Title IX NPRM

November 13, 2018: NAPE Statement on Proposed Rollback of Transgender Student Rights

June 2017: The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) released a new chapter of the “Title IX at 45” report leading up to the 45th anniversary of Title IX in June 2017. Each chapter explores the coalition’s findings on the persistent barriers women and girls face in education and the historic impact of Title IX. NCWGE’s recommendations, located at the end of each chapter, also provide important action items for schools, advocates, federal and state legislators, and administrators to ensure our efforts to achieve equity lead to long-term success.  To read the Career and Technical Education chapter click here.

Led by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), NCWGE’s Career & Technical Education & Workforce Training task force aims to increase recognition of the value of and the opportunities available in vocational and technical instruction for women and girls. The task force advocates for policies and support programs that work to improve the academic, vocational and technical skills of women and girls in order to strengthen education to better prepare them for lasting and rewarding employment, and lifelong learning in today’s changing workplace.

July 24, 2013: In a letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Departments of Education and Justice ruled that, under Title IX, transgender students may not be discriminated against in schools. The letter was delivered as a result of an investigation regarding a transgendered student in the Arcadia Unified School District of California. The teen, born female but who identifies as male, had been prohibited from using male-gendered facilities in his school (such as restrooms and locker rooms). These actions were deemed unlawful by the aforementioned departments. The letter explicitly stated: “[all] students, including transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX….”

June 25, 2013: The Department of Education released a Dear Colleague Letter informing schools of the requirements to support pregnant and/or parenting students.

June 20, 2012: NAPE CEO Mimi Lufkin participated on a Title IX panel on Capitol Hill to discuss STEM education.

Necessary Action

Government agencies must ensure that academic institutions are fulfilling Title IX requirements to promote equity at all levels of education, including in nontraditional programs of study. Academic institutions must be aware of Title IX requirements and promote equity within their schools.

Resources and Publications