Gender Equity at School: The Importance of Title IX
In 2013, my university’s women’s basketball team went to the Final Four of the National College Athletic Association’s championship competition. Although it was far more successful that season than its men’s counterpart, the women’s team couldn’t sell out its own gym, even for the biggest games. Women’s basketball players would stand outside and pass flyers out to potential fans heading into similar men’s games in hopes that they would then come out and support their games. The women’s program offers discounted youth tickets for big games, including their rival games, in hopes of packing the gym and creating a loud and exciting environment.
Although schools must equally fund men’s and women’s athletic programs under Title IX (and in my collegiate career I saw top-of-the-line locker rooms built for both, and equal travel opportunities presented to both), it’s my opinion that the popularity of women’s sports still suffers because women’s athletic achievements are undervalued by society. Without Title IX, women’s sports programs would suffer even more; at my school, for example, the women’s basketball program was not financially profitable. Without regulations under Title IX, like the proportionality requirement, colleges would undoubtedly cut the majority of women’s programs. What can be done to change the harmful perception of women’s athletics? What can we as Title IX advocates do to assist the fight to gain further equity for women in sports? Equal Rights Advocates is joining forces with multiple sister organizations and coalitions to make sure that Title IX issues, like equal funding of women’s athletics, stay at the forefront of the conversation on gender equity for girls and young women.
· ERA, Legal Aid Society- Employment Law center, California Women’s Law Center, and California Center for Research on Women and Families formed a California Title IX Coalition and developed a Title IX Checklist to assess Title IX implementation at local high schools. The Checklist covers three areas under Title IX: athletics, sexual harassment, and pregnant teens.
Take action: The California Title IX Coalition is currently looking for volunteers to participate in using the Checklist to assess the school(s) in their communities and determine whether their school(s) are in compliance with Title IX. The Coalition is also offering group conference calls and technical assistance for people who are interested in participating. To sign up for additional information, please click here. The first group conference calls are scheduled for March 19, 2014 (4pm) March 20, 2014 (7pm).
· ERA is teaming with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Senator Bonilla, and sister organizations to work to pass a bill updating California’s laws on Title IX reporting. This bill would require public elementary and secondary school in the state that have pupils that participate in competitive athletics to report specified data to its school district governing board.
· With generous funding from the Levi Strauss Foundation our Power of IX campaign, which includes an educational video and online teen advocate toolkit, will empower middle and high schoolers to enforce Title IX at their own schools.
· ERA is in the final stages of collecting information about Title IX compliance from 116 Bay Area schools, pursuant to its Public Records Act request. ERA partnered with Morrison Foerster LLP in collecting and reviewing the schools’ policies and procedures of these schools to ensure that they adequately prevent and remedy sexual harassment, assault and other forms of discrimination. ERA’s report, which will include its proposal and follow up actions, will be released later this year.
· ERA is also exploring the options of teaming up with Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the Legislative Women’s Caucus to tackle issues involving the disturbing cyberbulling, a form of bullying that is prevalent at many of our community’s schools. ERA will explore ways to use Title IX to increase access to information and ensure the safety of students.
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