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Title IX

Question:
What is Title IX?

Response:

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX 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 applies to schools, local and state educational agencies, and other institutions that receive federal financial assistance from the Department. These recipients include approximately 17,600 local school districts, over 5,000 postsecondary institutions, and charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Also included are vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories of the United States.

A recipient institution that receives Department funds must operate its education program or activity in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The Department’s Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. (2021). Title IX and Sex Discrimination.

Examples of progress toward gender equity in recent decades are listed below:

Postsecondary Degrees

Educational attainment is the level of education completed by the time of the survey (reported here as at least high school completion,1 an associate’s or higher degree, a bachelor’s or higher degree, or a master’s or higher degree). Between 2010 and 20212, educational attainment rates among 25- to 29-year-olds increased at each attainment level. During this period, the percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who had completed at least high school increased from 89 to 94 percent, the percentage with an associate’s or higher degree increased from 41 to 49 percent, the percentage with a bachelor’s or higher degree increased from 32 to 39 percent, and the percentage with a master’s or higher degree increased from 7 to 9 percent. Although educational attainment rates increased over this period for both males and females and among most racial/ethnic groups, attainment gaps persisted in 2021.


Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds, by educational attainment and sex: 2010 and 2021

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

NOTE: Data were collected in March of each year and are based on sample surveys of the noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities); data include military personnel who live in households with civilians, but exclude those who live in military barracks. High school completion includes those who graduated from high school with a diploma as well as those who completed high school through equivalency programs, such as a GED program. Caution should be used when comparing 2021 estimates to those of prior years due to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on interviewing and response rates in 2021. For additional information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Current Population Survey data collection, please see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar21.pdf. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.


Between 2010 and 2021, educational attainment rates increased for both female and male 25- to 29-year-olds across all attainment levels. During this period, attainment rates were generally higher for females than for males.

1 High school completion includes those who graduated from high school with a diploma as well as those who completed high school through equivalency programs, such as a GED program.
2 Caution should be used when comparing 2021 estimates to those of prior years due to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on interviewing and response rates in 2021. For additional information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Current Population Survey data collection, please see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar21.pdf.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Educational Attainment of Young Adults. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/caa.

Participation in Athletics

Interscholastic sport participation data indicate consistent increases for both girls and boys over the past 50 years. An analysis of the years 2014–2019 indicates that boys’ participation opportunities increased by nearly 7,000, and the number of girls’ opportunities grew by over 135,000. The girls’ high school participation rate is greater than 11 times what it was when Title IX was passed, an increase of more than 1,000 percent. However, current girls’ participation numbers have never reached the boys’ 1971–72 level. In 1972, when Title IX was passed, boys’ participation numbers were 3,666,917, which is 264,184 more than girls’ in 2019.

Both women’s and men’s participation opportunities have increased every year since Title IX was passed. In 2019–20, a record number of male and female student-athletes participated in NCAA championship sports. Since the early 2000s, opportunities in men’s championship sports have grown at a slightly faster rate than in women’s sports. The overall undergraduate enrollment rate across all NCAA divisions is 45 percent men and 55 percent women; thus, with participation rates in women’s sports at 43.9 percent, the overall women’s sport participation rate is 11.1 percentage points lower than the average percentage of female undergraduates. Division I has the highest participation rate in women’s sports, with 47.1 percent of all championship sport opportunities. Women were on average 54 percent of the undergraduate population on Division I campuses. Student-athletes in women’s sports have 42.3 percent of the championship sport opportunities offered by Division II, a slight increase from eight years ago. Division II has a participation gap of 15.4 percentage points between men’s and women’s sports. Division III has the largest participation gap between opportunities on men’s and women’s teams at 16 percentage points.

SOURCE: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2022). The State of Women in College Sports: Title IX 50th Anniversary Report.

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