37 Words That Changed Everything
“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.”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was written to end discrimination based on sex, religion, race, color, and national origin in the area of employment. However, it did not prohibit gender discrimination in public education and federally assisted programs, including high school and collegiate athletic programs.
In 1971, before Title IX passed, only 1% of college athletic budgets went to women’s sports programs. At the high school level, male athletes outnumbered female athletes 12.5 to 1. Title IX was signed into law on June 23, 1972 by President Richard Nixon.
Testifying in Washington
Billie Jean King had spent the 1960s and early 1970s campaigning tirelessly for parity for women in sports, and in 1972, she turned her focus toward helping to pass Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in all federally funded school programs, including sports.
Demonstrating extraordinary courage and leadership, Billie Jean King took to Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of Title IX and to speak to its need in order for girls and women to advance in their sport.
Title IX’s Impact
The impact of Title IX on women’s sports is significant. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women, and while female athletes and their sports programs still have fewer teams, fewer scholarships, and lower budgets than their male counterparts, since Title IX’s passage, female participation at the high school level has grown by 1057 percent and by 614 percent at the college level.
The impact of Title IX stretches into professional sports as well. More opportunities have emerged for young women to turn their sport into their career, particularly in the WNBA. Collegiate and professional coaching opportunities have increased as well.
Billie Jean King created the Women’s Sports Foundation in part to protect the sports side of Title IX.
Title IX remains the only law that grants women any kind of equality in America.