ACLU Urges White House to Maintain Gender Equality In Education, Continue Title IX Enforcement

January 28, 2003 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today joined with other civil rights and education advocacy groups in urging the Bush Administration to protect gender equality by resisting any proposed reform of the watershed legislation banning sex discrimination in federally funded education, commonly known as Title IX.

“”This proposal would constitute a major setback in educational equity,”” said LaShawn Y. Warren, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “”Essentially, the President would be condoning the unequal treatment of girls and boys based on the baseless notion that girls are less interested in sports than boys.””

The ACLU’s comments come as the National Association for Women and Girls in Education – a coalition of civil rights and education advocates, of which the ACLU is a member — is set to hold a news conference this morning to protest proposed recommendations by a Department of Education commission to reform key provisions of Title IX.

The most controversial of the recommendations, which were formulated by the Department’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, would limit athletic scholarships to women regardless of their enrollment. In other words, even though women make up 55 percent of enrollment in the nation’s four-year colleges, schools would be allowed to cap their athletic scholarships for women at 43 percent – reserving the difference for male athletes – and still be recognized as providing gender equity for their students.

While some argue that Title IX has drained resources available to smaller men’s sports programs, the ACLU said that all the evidence suggests that the lack of resources is due to an over-allocation to more commercially viable men’s sports – such as basketball and football.

In fact, Title IX has been almost single-handedly responsible for eliminating long-standing and discriminatory barriers that many women and girls have faced in education and athletics.

However, even with the gains achieved through Title IX, the ACLU said, female participation in high school and collegiate sports still lags when compared with men. Women account for only 42 percent of college athletes and women receive only about 36 percent of overall athletic funding at schools with major sports programs.

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