Title IX: What Is It? What’s AAUW’s Position

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the federal statute prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. The American Association of University Women strongly supports Title IX and opposes any efforts that would weaken its effectiveness or undermine its enforcement.  To support a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, and diversity, AAUW’s 2017-2019 Public Policy Program advocates, “vigorous enforcement of Title IX and all other civil rights laws pertaining to education.”

The law states, “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 educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Commonly known for creating opportunities for women and girls in athletics, Title IX affects all areas of education. It has made it possible for women to pursue careers as lawyers, doctors, mechanics, scientists and professional athletes. Title IX applies to institutions receiving federal funds and addresses these important areas:

  • Access, recruitment, admission, and housing in higher education
  • Career and technical education
  • Education for pregnant, parenting students and/or married students
  • Equity in math, science, engineering and technology education
  • Sexual harassment assault
  • Comparable facilities and access to course offerings
  • Financial assistance
  • Student health services and insurance benefits
  • Harassment based on gender identity
  • Athletics

To ensure compliance with the law, Title IX requires recipients of federal education funding to evaluate their current policies and practices, adopt and publish a policy against sex discrimination, and implement grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee discrimination complaints. All schools must publicly appoint at least one employee to coordinate Title IX compliance.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination in education. It covers women and men, girls and boys, and staff and students in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds. This includes local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, career and technical education agencies, libraries, and museums. Music classes or choirs, sex education classes, and sports involving bodily contact are exempt from Title IX, as are religious institutions if the law would violate their religious tenets. Admissions policies at private undergraduate institutions are also exempt.

June 23, 2017 marked the 45th anniversary of Title IX.  The law has opened classroom doors, laboratories, and playing fields to millions of women and girls since its passing.  AAUW has highlighted the findings in a new report, Title IX: Advancing Opportunity through Equity in Education. 

Sept updates re Title IX from AAUW national