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Title IX: No It's Not Just About Sports

Here is a little known secret about me, I'm a jock. I used to do triathlons, have ridden my bike from Boston to New York (twice) and swam across the Hudson River last month. I've been so pleased by the increased roles women play in sport and realize that Title IX deserves much of the credit.

So what is Title IX you ask? It is a law, passed 35 years ago, that says "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." So did you get that part about "ANY education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance"? It's not just about sports. It can and should be about science, technology, engineering and math education.

Two years ago, in a statement at the conformation of Secretary Margaret Spellings, Senator Ron Wyden pointed out:

"Before Title IX, one in 17 girls in school played sports. Now itís one in 2.5, or 40 percent. Imagine if those same changes could be seen in math, science and engineering from the 20 percent of science undergraduates who are women today, to 40 percent or even 50 percent. From the six percent of engineering professors who are women today, to 40 percent."

He went on to say:

"The potential of Title IX is enormous. Enforcing it in these fields could revolutionize the study and application of math and science in this country. Educators of good conscience should not wait for a Federal reprimand to comply with this Federal law that ultimately benefits us all. Title IX should be a guiding principle in hiring, tenure,
scholarships, and lab space for all scholars."

Sounds good to me!

PS Thanks to Ruta Sevo and Cheryl Fillekes for pushing us to think more about these issues.