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February 23 2010

Ignoring the Sideline Problems of Title IX

Sabrina Schaeffer

Frances Tobin comments in Politics Daily on two new studies, which try to quantify some of the lasting effects of Title IX on women athletes.

A component of the 1972 Education Amendments, Title IX sought to establish gender-equality in both high school and college athletics.  It’s a policy that is regularly touted by the left as a great advancement for women. Left out of the conversation, is what it means for men.

That’s why it’s no surprise that both studies (originally reported on in the NYT) – one out of the University of Pennsylvania and the other out of the University of Illinois at Chicago – find the government policy has benefited women.  One claims a strong positive relationship between participation in high school sports and achievement later in life. The other considers the positive impact Title IX has had on the long-term physical activity and weight of women.

I certainly don’t challenge the notion that athletics are a great opportunity for women to develop self-confidence and a healthy body image, and I suspect there are extended benefits for women who participate in team sports. But despite what the left would have you believe, Title IX is not all positive. 

In fact, if you want to really understand the effect of the program, you just have to look to the host of men’s tennis, wrestling and gymnastics teams that schools have been forced to eliminate in the name of gender equality.  IWF has published some of the lesser talked about details associated with Title IX, including the fact that, “from 1981 to 2005, the number of male athletes per scool declined 6% and men’s teams dropped 17%.  In the same timeframe, female athletes per school rose 34% and women’s teams rose 34%.”

Unfortunately, Tobin is not concerned with these “sideline” problems.  Rather, she’s (predictably) focused on what still needs to be done in order to see “full compliance with Title IX.”  But the unintended consequences of this government program are not something to ignore.  While equality is good – it can not be established through discrimination.  And the effects of Title IX are something to keep an eye on, as the National Science Foundation is now pushing for Title IX-like legislation to help bring “parity” to the hard sciences.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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