The Women’s Caucus of the Young Democrats of America issued the following statement today on the 36th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, which outlaws sex discrimination in educational programs.
“Today, June 23, we celebrate the enactment of Title IX, landmark legislation that has helped ensure gender equity in education. While most of us who are members of the Women’s Caucus of the Young Democrats of America were not alive when this legislation was passed, we are the beneficiaries of a legislation that made it possible for us to believe from birth that we could reach for the stars. Title IX has provided opportunities for more than 2.7 million women and girls in all aspects of our educational system. With female university presidents, female engineers, female brain surgeons, and female professors in field after field, Title IX has left its mark for generations to come.
Before Title IX, many schools and universities had separate entrances for male and female students. Female students were not allowed to take certain courses, such as auto mechanics or criminal justice; male students could not take home economics. Most medical and law schools limited the number of women admitted to 15 or fewer per school. Many colleges and universities required women to have higher test scores and better grades than male applicants to gain admission. Women living on campus were not allowed to stay out past midnight. (Source: Report Card on Gender Equity, National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, 1997) This is a world, that as young women today we cannot imagine, and to the champions of Title IX, we lend our sincere gratitude.
However as young women, we must acknowledge that there is always more work to be done. For seven years the Bush Administration has worked to erode women’s rights, and John McCain offers more of the same. He has said he would appoint the same kinds of judges that have worked to undermine important laws like Title IX and he voted against the recent Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that would have allowed women to sue for pay discrimination in the workplace. We remember this in 2008 as we work to elect officials who will fight to further women’s equity”