Title IX, a groundbreaking statute intended to end sex discrimination in education, became the law of the land on June 23, 1972. While most famous for its requirement that schools provide girls with equal athletic opportunities, the law applies to all educational programs that receive federal funding, and to all aspects of a school's educational system. Title IX benefits both boys and girls and is the lynchpin of 40 years of efforts to promote and establish gender equity in schools.
The ACLU Women's Rights Project advocates for educational equality under Title IX in four key areas: sex-segregation and sex stereotypes in education, pregnant and parenting teens' rights, gender-based violence, and athletics.
Established in 1972, the same year Title IX went into effect, the Women's Rights Project was has been fighting for women's equality and empowerment ever since. With the help of ACLU affiliates across the country, the ACLU has garnered huge successes in preserving and promoting Title IX's goal of gender equity over the past 40 years.
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In recent years, the number of public schools separating their students by sex has ballooned, despite mounting evidence that single-sex programs don't improve academic performance and instead perpetuate sex stereotypes. The ACLU Women's Rights Project works to ensure that public schools do not become sex-segregated and that girls and boys receive equal educational opportunities.
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Title IX and Sexual Violence in Schools
Sexual violence in schools and on campus is a pressing civil rights issue: when students suffer sexual assault and harassment, they are deprived of equal access to an education. Title IX is a powerful tool for students who want to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault, including rape, at school and on college campuses.
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Pregnant and Parenting Teens
Pregnant and parenting teens face enormous challenges in accomplishing their educational goals. Approximately 70 percent of teenage girls who give birth leave school, and, evidence suggests that illegal discrimination is a major contributing factor to this high dropout rate.
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Nearly 40 years after Title IX was enacted, cases including Mansourian v. Regents of the University of California and Biediger v. Quinnipiac University continue to be brought to affirm schools' obligations to comply with its mandate for gender equality in athletics.