The equality and freedom

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America is a land of opportunity, equality and freedom. It is a place were people can come and have rights and be able to do the things they want to do, and be who they want to be. Title IX also known as the education amendments act of 1972 was set up for that reason. It is a 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." Title IX was created in 1972 and was set up to ensure equality for everybody no matter what sex, male or female, in many aspects of education. It applies to all aspects of education, but my main focus today is the affect it has had on womens sports. Title IX requires schools and colleges receiving federal funds to give women and girls an equal chance to play sports and to treat men and women equally when it comes to athletic scholarships and other benefits like equipment, coaching and facilities. (National Women Law Center) Since most colleges and universities receive federal funds, they must then abide by the regulations set forth by Title IX so this affects schools on a large national level. Making the nation a better place and living up to what we are best for and that's giving equality.

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Title IX is federally funded. Since all public institutions receive some form of federal assistance, as well as almost every private institution (through federal aid for student tuition), Title IX was understood to cover virtually all educational institutions, both public and private. After some institutions and courts interpreted the law to mean that an equal amount must be spent on both sexes, many colleges created athletics programs for women and curtailed some for men.(Ratvich) Almost all private colleges are covered because they receive federal funding through federal financial aid programs used by their students. Many private elementary and secondary schools receive federal funding through various programs as well. (Women's sports foundation)

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education enforces Title IX. OCR has the authority to develop policy on the regulations it enforces. In regard to athletics programs, OCR developed an Intercollegiate Athletics Policy Interpretation that was issued December 11, 1979. The 1979 Policy Interpretation remains current policy. On April 2, 1990, OCR issued an athletics policy document called "Title IX Athletics Investigator's Manual" that has assisted athletics departments with enforcement and compliance issues with Title IX. Anyone may file an OCR complaint, and the identity of the party who files the complaint will be kept confidential. (NCAA)

In order to comply with the athletic requirements of Title IX, educational institutions must meet the requirements of three areas: participation, athletic financial assistance, and treatment of athletes. Without passing all three parts of the "test" you fail to comply with Title IX and will be put under investigation.

The first area is participation. Along with participation comes a three parts or prongs. The first prong of the three alternatives requires only "substantial proportionality," not strict proportionality. The law recognized that strict proportionality is not feasible standard by which to measure adequacy of participation opportunities. However, neither the regulations, the OCR nor any court has defined a clear rule setting a definitive percentage. (KHSSA) Prong two continues to say that a school may demonstrate a history and continuing practice of expanding its sports offerings for women in the recent past. (KHSSA) Meaning even if a school is unable to establish substantial proportionality, it will be considered in compliance with Title IX if it can demonstrate a history and continuing practice of expanding its sports offerings for women. The factors considered in making this determination are: A school's recent history and continuing practice of adding women's teams, upgrading teams to varsity, affirmatively responding to requests for adding or upgrading teams, and monitoring developing interests of women by conducting surveys. (KHSSA)

The final prong states that there has to be full Accommodation of Interests and Abilities- the institution demonstrates that the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex (females) are fully and effectively accommodated by the existing programs. An institution fulfills the compliance requirement for participant opportunities if it adheres to any (or just one) of the two other prongs.

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The second area of the compliance is Athletic Financial Assistance

The second major compliance prong of Title IX encompasses athletic financial assistance. The only monetary requirement of Title IX deals with the area of scholarships. Scholarships must be allocated in proportion to the number of female and male students participating in intercollegiate athletics. Funding for women's and men's programs does not have to be equal, but a significant disparity in funds does suggest that institutions could be found non-compliant in other program areas. (Gavora 11)

The third compliance prong of Title IX requires equivalence in other athletic benefits and opportunities and includes all other program areas not previously covered (OCR, Policy). Title IX does not require that each men's and women's team receive exactly the same services and supplies, but it looks at the entirety of the treatment the men's and women's programs receive as a whole. The equivalence of overall treatment is measured on the basis of eleven criteria: locker rooms, equipment, housing and dining facilities, and academic tutoring. (Women's Sports Foundation)

Before Title IX existed things were different. The primary physical activities for girls were cheerleading and square-dancing. Only 1 in 27 girls played high school sports. There were virtually no college scholarships for female athletes. And female college athletes received only two percent of overall athletic budgets. (TitleIX.info) Only tennis and golf had established professional tours. Today, there are also women's professional leagues for soccer, volleyball, bowling and two for basketball. Women have even made inroads in the traditionally male sport of boxing. (Garber)

In the early 1970's, before Title IX took hold, girls represented only 7.4 percent of high school athletes-under 300,000. Why? Because high schools discriminated against girls in their sports offerings. (Labinger) How can we be so sure that these low numbers were due to denial rather than a lack of interest? Because by 1976, the number of girls participating in high school sports had skyrocketed to 28.6 percent of all high school athletes-over 1.6 million. Today, over 2 million girls participate in high school sports programs and represent about 38 percent of high school athletes. (Labinger) Officially, Title IX went into affect in June of 1973, a year after it became a law. (Blumenthal 66) Since then, womens' participation in sports has grown tremendously. In the years of 1971-1972 there were 294,015 girls in high-school varsity sports. Three years later that number increased to 1,645,039. (Blumenthal 66)

Not only did Title IX boost womens' participation in sports but in academics.

A National Science Foundation study found that women accounted for only 23 percent of physical scientists and 10 percent of engineers. The percentages of women on faculties in these areas are even lower, with 14 percent of science faculty members being women and a mere 6 percent in engineering departments. Now that Title IX is in effect Women have started to enroll in school more and they have had a fair chance of getting in. Women getting into school means them getting degrees in which they did. As a matter of fact In 1972, women earned just 7% of all law degrees and 9% of all medical degrees. By 2001, they received 47% of law degrees and 43% of medical degrees. In 1970, women earned only 13.3% of doctoral degrees; 30 years later, nearly half of all doctoral degrees are awarded to women. (National Organization for Women)

Benefits of title IX can also help a womens personal life . A large body of research shows that sports are associated with all sorts of benefits, like lower teenage pregnancy rates, better grades and higher self-esteem. But until now, no one has determined whether those improvements are a direct result of athletic participation. It may be that the type of girl who is attracted to sports already has the social, personal and physical qualities - like ambition, strength and supportive parents - that will help her succeed in life. (Parker) Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, used a complex analysis that showed that increasing girls' sports participation had a direct effect on women's education and employment. She found that the changes set in motion by Title IX 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. She also added "It's not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life, While I only show this for girls, it's reasonable to believe it's true for boys as well."

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Another question is whether Title IX has made a difference in women's long-term health. Robert Kaestner, an economics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, compared rates of obesity and physical activity of women who had been in high school in the 1970s - as Title IX was taking effect - with similar women from earlier years. He found that the increase in girls' athletic participation caused by Title IX was associated with a 7 percent lower risk of obesity 20 to 25 years later, when women were in their late 30s and early 40s. (Parker)

Though women have benefited the most from this act, there is still room for growth. A woman cant choose to be a woman but no matter what should have the rights a man does. It's not fair to discriminate against something that is beyond control, such as gender, just like it is unacceptable to discriminate against things such as race and disability. Look past the outside differences. We are all still human beings that deserve to be treated equally, no matter what. Sometimes athletics are more than how much money it rakes in or how many fans it puts in the seats. Athletics matter most to the people who participate in them. When my mom was in high school, she had the choice of being a cheerleader or being a cheerleader, and never had the opportunities I have had in high school. "Girls playing sports is not about winning gold medals. It's about self-esteem, learning to compete and learning how hard you have to work in order to achieve your goals." - Jackie Joyner-Kersee