As the United States Women's Soccer Team fights their way to the World Cup Gold, we at the ACLU can't help but be proud of the great strides women have made since Title IX became law.  When more women participate in sports and achieve in fields that have traditionally been male dominated, we begin to close the gender gap and pull ourselves closer to equality.


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in schools.  Since its passage, women and girls seeking to participate in athletics have found a path through which to do so.  A 2006 study found that since 1972 women's participation in sports at the collegiate level increased 450%.  The same study found that nine times more women participated in high school sports than did in 1972.


Of course, Title IX's scope reaches further than sports alone.  In 1970, women accounted for only 17.5% of bachelor's degrees granted in natural sciences and engineering.  By 2004, the percentage rose to 38.4%.  In the year 2000, 65.7% of high school girls took chemistry.  Today, more than half of all bachelor's degrees completed in chemistry are earned by women.


These numbers are inspiring and indicate how important Title IX has been in the continuing fight for equality.  It would be foolish, however, to believe these numbers indicate women have reached full equality.  In 2007, 53% of students at Division I schools were women, yet female athletes in Division I schools received 32% of recruiting funds and 37% of total athletics expenditures.  At the thirty fifth anniversary of Title IX, women earned only 20% of all bachelor's degrees in engineering and 25.1% of degrees in computer science, despite comprising nearly 60% of all undergraduate students. Though often more subtle than in the past, sex based discrimination persists. Yet, there is cause for hope.  When properly applied, Title IX has worked, and there is reason to believe Title IX will continue to work.  As our women's team marches toward victory, we remember that history is on our side and true and lasting equality is surely in our future.