A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Title IX: 25 Years of Progress -- June 1997

The Next 25 Years

Image of Rosie the Riveter This report, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, has focused on the many gains girls and women have made since 1972 in education and employment. These gains represent a great deal of work by many American men and women, but we still have more to do. As this report was being prepared, an obituary noted that Rose Will Monroe, the model for the famous World War II poster of "Rosie the Riveter," had passed away. The death of Rose Will Monroe reminds us that long before Title IX became law, women were willing to enter the job market in fields from which they are still sometimes excluded.

Even today as we acknowledge the many advances women have made in academics, employment and athletics, we still need to recognize some dismaying facts in our efforts to achieve equity. While sex discrimination is no longer routinely accepted in education and has been prohibited since Title IX became law, the incidences of sexual harassment and assault that are continually reported show that freedom from threats to learning still has not been achieved. In response, the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education has released its final policy guidance on sexual harassment to help educators recognize sexual harassment and formulate age-appropriate responses to prevent or resolve incidences of this form of sex discrimination.

Sexual Assaults and Threats in High School

In one school district, a disabled sophomore high school student was sexually harassed by her male music teacher. She filed a complaint under Title IX revealing that her school district ignored her complaints about the teacher's behavior. As a result, the school district agreed to place the student in another district and to pay all related costs including $2,000 for counseling fees.

In another school district, several female high school students turned to the Office for Civil Rights for help in stopping sexually harassing threats and comments that occurred for a three-year period. As is typical in these types of cases, one female student had developed ulcers and other problems due to continual stress. As a result of Title IX the school district developed disciplinary guidelines to address sexual harassment of students.

Other conditions that inhibit equal opportunity in education and the workplace remain:

  • Although women earn half of all college degrees, they are less likely than men to earn bachelor's degrees in computer science, engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics. At still higher levels of education, they account for only 17 percent of doctoral degrees in math and physical science, 14 percent of doctoral degrees in computer science and 7 percent of doctoral degrees in engineering. This gap takes on more significance still in the labor market where salaries are among the highest in mathematics/computer science and engineering-- fields in which women are underrepresented. Without more equity in these fields at all levels, women will remain at the low end of positions and the pay scale in the information age.

  • At the high school level, there are still about 24,000 more boys' varsity teams than girls' teams; in college, women receive only one-third of all athletic scholarships; and, between 1992 and 1997, overall operating expenditures for women's college sports programs grew only 89 percent, compared to 139 percent for men, representing only 23 percent of the total operating expenses.

  • Even though women make up half of the labor market, not only are they underrepresented in jobs in scientific fields, but they are often paid less than men. In 1993, only 18 percent of employed recent female science and engineering graduates worked in science and engineering occupations, compared to 35 percent of their male counterparts. In the same year, women who had majored in the natural sciences earned 15 percent less than men who majored in the same field.

  • Despite women's large gains toward equal educational attainment and their accompanying gains in labor force participation, their earnings are only 80 percent of the earnings of their male counterparts with the same education--$26,000 vs $32,000, respectively, for graduates of four-year colleges in 1993.

President Clinton frequently reminds us that "We do not have a person to waste" if we are to ensure the well-being of our people and the competitiveness of the nation. Twenty-five years ago, America began the long process of eradicating discrimination based on gender and has since moved forward. There have been peaks and valleys in this process, and we cannot ignore the reality that inequality and discrimination still remain here in 1997.

Yet, the American people have never turned away from the goal of making sure that all Americans, regardless of gender, are given an equal opportunity to get a good education, to compete in the athletic arena, and to work in a job or a profession for which they are well qualified. Title IX, today and in the future, represents and reflects this American commitment to equality.


[ Achieving Success Under Title IX ] [ References ]

Last Updated -- July 10, 1997, (pjk)