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In 2013, just 18% of college computer science majors were women. But girls become disinterested in STEM long before college graduation: it happens throughout high school. 

To ensure girls have equal access to and opportunities in STEM programs (as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), ERA is engaged in collaborative work with schools and school districts. Over the past year, we have worked with the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District in Sonoma County to build a culture of gender equity at their Technology High, the district’s prestigious science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) education program, where more than two-thirds of the student body is male. ERA got involved after being contacted by the family of a student who experienced gender-based harassment on the school’s robotics team. Even though she was constantly put down by boys, she became the first female team leader in the history of Technology High’s robotics program and led her team to place third in the prestigious competition.   

In the course of representing this student, we reached out to district leadership about the systemic issues of gender inequity that this student’s experience illustrated, including the lopsided gender ratio among students. We are happy to report that the district accepted our invitation to work collaboratively with us on multiple fronts to build a culture of gender equity. The efforts and commitments made to date include analyzing application and admissions data and reviewing selection procedures, exploring new recruitment and outreach strategies, clarifying the district’s sexual harassment and nondiscrimination policies and improving their dissemination. 

In May, we proudly presented a comprehensive Gender Equity Recruitment Plan to the school district that can serve as a model for technology high schools across the Bay Area and country. As a result of this work and research, Technology High has already reformed the process by which robotics team leaders are selected to be gender-equitable, prioritized school climate issues, and committed to providing implicit bias training to its teachers.

We look forward to continuing our work with the school and supporting young feminists like our client, who are fighting to ensure schools are places all girls can thrive.

Building gender equity in K-12 schools is an integral part of our Strong Girls Initiative. Learn more about the initiative’s work at http://www.equalrights.org/our-work/strong_girls/.

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This Monday, July 31, we recognize Black Women's Equal Pay Day, the day when Black women's earnings finally catch up to what white men made last year. And while we're fighting the many barriers to equal pay each day - job segregation, lack of paid family leave, pay discrimination - we're asking you to join us on July 31 to amplify our voices. 

Get involved on Black Women's Equal Pay Day:

Support policy reforms advancing equal pay:

For more resources, visit Equal Pay Today's website.

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Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her staff made it clear that when it comes to campus sexual assault, they will choose the side of the rape apologist over protecting survivors of campus sexual assault.

Between meetings with so-called "men’s rights activists," Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson made the sexist and false claim that 90% of reported campus sexual assaults are fabricated.

“90 percent of [campus gender violence reports] fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.”

Jackson leads the federal agency tasked with upholding students’ right to equal access to education, free of sexual violence. Not only is this statement untrue and offensive, it perpetuates the kind of thinking that throws roadblocks in the way of Title IX violation investigations.

Demand Candice Jackson publicly reject this false statistic and instead commit to upholding the letter and spirit of Title IX.

While we continue to call on Secretary DeVos and her colleagues to strongly enforce Title IX, we’re also working to ensure students’ rights are upheld no matter what happens at the federal level.

In 2011, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a critical guidance called the Dear Colleague Letter. This letter outlines how schools should handle sexual misconduct investigations to ensure they are upholding students’ civil rights. In just six years, this document has proven instrumental in beginning to curb an epidemic that affects 1 in 5 women during college.

Californians, help us stay on the offense. Ask your Assemblymember to support SB 169.

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This post was written by ERA summer intern Yasmina Malouf.

June 23 marked the 45th birthday of Title IX, a federal law that requires gender equity in schools. Title IX states that "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."

To many, Title IX means justice for victims of harassment in the classroom and equal treatment on the playing field; however, the majority of students who may need it the most, high schoolers, have no idea what Title IX is or what their rights are under the law.

My name is Yasmina Malouf and I am a rising junior at a public school in the Bay Area. Ever since middle school, I have been interested in women's rights and equality, whether it be at school, work, or home. From a young age, I knew it wasn’t right that a woman has to work twice as hard to garner the same respect as a man, that my friends and I were chastised for not being “ladylike,” or that when a boy in my class stole my idea and took all the credit for it, I didn’t feel like I could speak up because I was a girl. I knew that all of these seemingly small realities added up to create one giant inequality that pervades our society today. I continued to point out what I observed as unfair to my peers, but always got the same response: “There’s nothing you can do about it,” or, “That’s just the way it is.” Disheartened, I began to believe that no matter how much I talked about it, there was nothing that I could do to change the norm of belittling women. Until I learned about Title IX.

One day, my mom came home and asked me if I had heard that some nearby schools were being sued for Title IX violations. I had absolutely no idea what Title IX was. I had no idea that there was a law that protected me and my fellow female students from having to tolerate the everyday things that have frustrated me since middle school. Before I knew it, I was identifying possible Title IX cases at my school.

For teens, coming forward about interactions that make them uncomfortable is increasingly difficult, as our society tells young girls to remain silent. Girls need to know that it is a big deal when a boy won’t stop texting them creepy messages. They need to know that they don’t need to “chill” about the boy who keeps touching their butt in the hallway. They need to know that they have the right to demand a safe and comfortable learning environment and to speak up about anything that serves as an obstacle to their education.

Title IX violations aren’t just the obvious cases many know about, like rape or denial on a sports team. They include everyday instances that girls have been taught to put up with because they “aren’t a big deal” and girls need to “stop being so dramatic.”

So many girls tolerate this behavior because they are criticized from boys and girls alike if they speak up. Boys continue to harass girls who speak up by making a power play to send a message about their dominance. On the other hand, girls judge others who speak up because, “If I can put up with it, why can’t you?” Little do victims know that it is their right to speak up without this retaliation from peers. Girls have the right to demand respect without any judgment or questioning. Too much harassment goes unspoken about because girls have the misconception that there is nothing that can be done.

If all girls know their Title IX, they will feel empowered to speak out knowing that the law is on their side. They will be able to shut down boys who harm them time and time again. These same boys that later turn into men who repeat the same destructive behavior in college, and later still in the workplace. If these boys learn their lesson early on, we can begin to combat the trend of abuse against women for years to come.

All that needs to happen to get the ball rolling is to spread the word about Title IX. The fact that we are celebrating this law's 45th birthday, and so many girls and boys in school still don’t have any idea that this law exists, is a major problem. What good is a concrete protection of rights if the girls who need it have no idea it exists?

Title IX needs to be prevalent in every school, and just as accessible as the bell schedule or evacuation procedures. We have a responsibility to our girls to inform them of their federal rights and give them the tools to combat any uncomfortable or harmful situation that comes their way. As we spread the word on Title IX, we empower girls to stand up and get justice.

Let’s continue raising a generation of bad-ass girls, who also know their nine!

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In 2013, just 18% of college computer science majors were women. But girls become disinterested in STEM long before college graduation: it happens throughout high school. 

To ensure girls have equal access to and opportunities in STEM programs (as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), ERA is engaged in collaborative work with schools and school districts. Over the past year, we have worked with the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District in Sonoma County to build a culture of gender equity at their Technology High, the district’s prestigious science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) education program, where more than two-thirds of the student body is male. ERA got involved after being contacted by the family of a student who experienced gender-based harassment on the school’s robotics team. Even though she was constantly put down by boys, she became the first female team leader in the history of Technology High’s robotics program and led her team to place third in the prestigious competition.   

In the course of representing this student, we reached out to district leadership about the systemic issues of gender inequity that this student’s experience illustrated, including the lopsided gender ratio among students. We are happy to report that the district accepted our invitation to work collaboratively with us on multiple fronts to build a culture of gender equity. The efforts and commitments made to date include analyzing application and admissions data and reviewing selection procedures, exploring new recruitment and outreach strategies, clarifying the district’s sexual harassment and nondiscrimination policies and improving their dissemination. 

In May, we proudly presented a comprehensive Gender Equity Recruitment Plan to the school district that can serve as a model for technology high schools across the Bay Area and country. As a result of this work and research, Technology High has already reformed the process by which robotics team leaders are selected to be gender-equitable, prioritized school climate issues, and committed to providing implicit bias training to its teachers.

We look forward to continuing our work with the school and supporting young feminists like our client, who are fighting to ensure schools are places all girls can thrive.

Building gender equity in K-12 schools is an integral part of our Strong Girls Initiative. Learn more about the initiative’s work at http://www.equalrights.org/our-work/strong_girls/.

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STEM: Not just a hobby for girls. It’s a civil right.

July 28, 2017 | by

In 2013, just 18% of college computer science majors were women. But girls become disinterested in STEM long before college graduation: it happens throughout high school.  To ensure girls have equal...
read more

Speak Out on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

July 26, 2017 | by

This Monday, July 31, we recognize Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day when Black women’s earnings finally catch up to what white men made last year. And while we’re fighting the many barriers to...
read more

Action Alert: Send a Message to the Department of Education

July 19, 2017 | by

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her staff made it clear that when it comes to campus sexual assault, they will choose the side of the rape apologist over protecting survivors of...
read more

High Schoolers Need to Know Their IX

July 19, 2017 | by

This post was written by ERA summer intern Yasmina Malouf. June 23 marked the 45th birthday of Title IX, a federal law that requires gender equity in schools. Title IX states that “No person in the...
read more