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June 24 2011

Title IX: Over the Hill at 39

Carrie L. Lukas

Title IX has now been enforce for 39 years.  Instead of anniversary celebrations, this should be an occasion for policymakers and the public to take a fresh look at this out-dated law and give it a much-needed make-over.

Title IX is the classic example of a well-intentioned law that was meant to address a real problem, but has had serious unintended consequences and now creates more problems than it solves. It was meant to ensure that all students, regardless of their sex, had equal excess to educational opportunities. Mostly, Title IX enforcement has focused on athletics, so that girls, like boys, would have the opportunity to compete and play sports.

As IWF has written before, the problem has rested in how Title IX's been enforced. Colleges have three ways that they can prove that there are in compliance with Title IX, but the only sure fire way to avoid a lawsuit is to make sure that the gender breakdown of the school's athletes matches the gender breakdown of the entire student body. That's become increasingly difficult at many schools since women account for about 6 out of every 10 undergrads.

Schools that don't have the money to start new teams for girls, or simply can't recruit enough women to join existing teams, have instead eliminated men's teams to make the numbers work. That means that thousands of would be male athletes have denied the opportunity to play sports because of Title IX.

And that's a sad and unnecessary thing. It surprises no one outside of far left gender studies departments that just about all surveys and data shows that men are more likely than women to express an interest in playing (or watching) sports. And in fact, sports are about the one extracurricular activity that male participation outpaces girls. Women dominate academic teams, student governments, art programs, theater, student newspapers, and just about everything else on college campus. Why then is Title IX only applied to the one area-sports-where men still have an edge?

Sadly, instead of rethinking this approach, many in the Department of Education seem to want to double down on it, and use Title IX to achieve gender parity in academia as well. What subjects are the Title IX enforcers looking at? Naturally, they are only concerned with math, science, engineering and technology-those few disciplines where men out number women.

This is not only an inappropriate use of government power, it borders on madness. Women are excelling in our education system (and increasingly in our economy) while men are falling behind. Why would we possibly be using taxpayer dollars to push women to dominate the rest of the academic disciplines (which will necessarily mean less opportunities for men in those subjects)?

It's none of government's business who wants to study what. Also, there are plenty of private organizations working to make sure that girls and women have the opportunity to participate in STEM disciplines. But beyond the government's role, it's time the public starts asking questions about what future we see for our nation's sons. Why is it that we seem only concerned about the opportunities open to our daughters, and when are we going to give boys the attention they deserve?



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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