Before the passage of Title IX in 1972, equality in US education didn’t exist. Sex-based discrimination, which reigned across the entire educational landscape of the US, kept young women from accessing a number of academic and financial aid opportunities.
Everything changed with the introduction of Title IX, which improved girls’ access to opportunities in the educational world. Young women were now able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with boys, even in the fields previously considered to be exclusively boys’ dominions.
It was a hallmark achievement to end gender discrimination in education, which should not have existed in the first place. Girls were now taking the courses they wanted, were earning more degrees and becoming professors, and were making major strides in sports and athletics.
To end gender discrimination in US education, Title IX was passed as a federal civil rights law under the Education Amendments of 1972. By providing girls and boys with equal access to academic programs and federal financial assistance, Title IX put a much-needed end to sex-based bias that had long existed in the US educational system.
According to Title IX, “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.”
The law couldn’t be clearer and more explicit. The stage was now set for big changes to take place in the US, as well as a global, educational system. Today, Title IX is vigorously enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) which evaluates, investigates, and resolves complaints alleging sex discrimination.
As discussed above, academic opportunities were restricted for girls and young women prior to Title IX. With limited options to choose from and poor access to financial aid options, they weren’t able to reach their true potential which also hampered their active socio-economic participation.
No one describes the life before Title IX better than Barbara Winslow, historian, and teacher at Brooklyn College. She says:
“Young women were not admitted into many colleges and universities, athletic scholarships for women were rare, and math and science was a realm reserved for boys. Girls square danced instead of playing sports, studied home economics instead of training for “male-oriented” (read: higher-paying) trades.”
“Girls could become teachers and nurses, but not doctors or principals; women rarely were awarded tenure and even more rarely appointed college presidents. There was no such thing as sexual harassment because “boys will be boys,” after all, and if a student got pregnant, her formal education ended. Graduate professional schools openly discriminated against women.”
Title IX brought a profound transformation in the education sphere of the US. Young women not only had access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, they were starting to make their mark in the fields.
They were becoming more empowered now, knowing their rights and duties for a more active socio-economic contribution. Equipped with robust education, women were now entering the domains that were traditionally thought to belong to men.
Some of the most profound changes that Title IX caused are listed below.
Educational institutions across the US, especially the ones that receive Federal funds, are required to fully comply with Title IX and ensure its vigorous enforcement at all times. Besides ensuring equal academic opportunities, the Title IX law governs how an educational institution handles cases of sexual harassment and ensures transparent and fair investigations.
In a broader scope, Title IX compliance includes procedures for an academic institution’s students, employees, and volunteers related to institutional action in cases of Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, Retaliation, and other forms of violence or discrimination.
To be Title IX compliant, academic institutions must also ensure students’ equal access to admissions and financial aid, academic opportunities, sports and athletics, educational support and career guidance, housing and facilities, employment and training, as well as career advancement. In essence, Title IX compliance aims to create and promote a safe campus.
There are many ways that institutions can improve their Title IX compliance and make the campus safe for all students, teachers, other employees, and volunteers. Sometimes, the institution, on the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is required to undergo certain institutional reforms to be Title IX compliant.
Some of the ways that educational institutions can make their campuses safe for everyone may include the following:
One of the important Title IX compliance conditions for federally funded colleges and universities is that they are bound to investigate all incidents and reports of gender-based discrimination. Hence, no case of gender bias, harassment or assault, stalking, or any other gender-based harm can go unheeded by the school and must be thoroughly investigated.
But since it’s mostly a matter of the institution’s policy violation, these investigations may take place independently, i.e. without legal involvement. It’s the prerogative of the institution to determine whether the incident violated the school policy or the law; in the prior case, the school can run an independent investigation, whereas in the latter case, law enforcement may be involved.
Every federally funded educational institution must have a formal process in place for reporting, investigating, and resolving matters related to Title IX violations. The failure to do so and fix the discriminatory environment can very well mean the discontinuation of federal funding.
Here’s how a Title IX investigation is typically conducted:
Once the investigative report is ready and shared with the parties involved, either party can request an administrative review. Higher-level management will get involved and look into the allegations, evidence, and the original decision. After the review, a written decision will be formed and outcomes will be explained.
In cases where no appeal is made by the parties involved, sanctions will be determined by the decision-makers for the perpetrators. The Title IX Coordinator will then arrange support services for the victim and may pass the case to law enforcement.
Management of Title IX violations can be cumbersome, leaving coordinators and case managers overworked, and sometimes clueless. Plus, the inefficiencies caused by the conventional case management protocols may always leave gaps in Title IX violations, reporting, investigations, and resolutions.
There are plenty of case management solutions available today that can make Title IX case management efficient, fast, and dependable. This software offers a state-of-the-art, 360-degree Title IX compliance, violation reporting, and resolution solution in a single program.
From raising awareness about non-discrimination to swift reporting of gender-based discrimination, and to thorough investigations and outcomes, these solutions cut a tedious process to mere taps and clicks, reducing gaps from Title IX case management and making the task easier and effective for institutions and their Title IX Coordinators.