Bridging the Gender Gap: The Positive Effects of Title IX
Since Title IX’s inception in 1972, women and girls have made great strides in obtaining gender equity, not only in the classroom but also on the playing field. Equal opportunity is very important to our nation, and the opportunity to compete is very valuable.
Sports provide a wonderful foundation for the rest of our lives. Benefits of playing sports include gaining leadership skills, higher academic performance, increased self-esteem, increased health, and a more responsible social behavior that all stem from participating in sports. Despite the great strides, there is still much to be done before Title IX’s goals are achieved (Vanderslice and Litsch 1998).
Title IX is providing more opportunities for women. When Title IX was signed in 1972, women earned just 7 percent of all law degrees. By 1997, that number had risen to 44 percent. As Title IX allowed more women to afford to attend university through academic and athletic scholarships, 41 percent of women earned medical degrees, whereas before in 1972, women only earned 9 percent of all medical degrees. Before Title IX’s inception, only 1 in 27 girls played varsity sports; today, that figure is 1 in 2.5. There are now a total of 2.8 million girls playing high school sports with the hopes of obtaining a scholarship in a university. Before Title IX, there were only 32,000 women competing at the intercollegiate level; now there are 150,000 competing women. In addition, athletic scholarships were virtually nonexistent prior to Title IX; now there are over 10,000 athletic scholarships awarded to women to compete at the collegiate level each year (Carpenter and Acosta 1992).
Today, despite these advances, there is still a gender discrimination that still limits sporting opportunities for women at the intercollegiate level. Despite Title IX’s success in opening doors to women and girls, the playing field is far from level for them. For example, although women in division I colleges are 53 percent of the student body, they receive only 41 percent of the opportunities to play sports, 36 percent of overall athletic operating budgets, and 32 percent of the dollars spent to recruit new athletes.
It has been estimated that men receive $133 million more per year than women do in athletic scholarships (National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education 2005).
Title IX has caused a decrease in opportunities for male athletes, and Title IX is to blame for program and scholarship cuts. Since Title IX’s inception, there has been an unfortunate loss of men’s teams, but supporters of Title IX state the losses have been offset by the number of men playing other sports (Hammer 2003).
The United States General Accounting Office had recently done a report on the participation level of men and women athletics. According to their report, men’s intercollegiate athletic participation rose from approximately 220,000 in 1981–1982 to approximately 232,000 in 1998–1099. Between 1981 and 1982 and 1998 and 1999, football participation increased by 7,199 more—offsetting wrestling’s loss of 2,648 participants; outdoor track’s loss of 1,706 participants; tennis’s loss of 1,405 participants; and gymnastics’ loss of 1,022 participants. Other sports that gained participants include baseball (+5,452), lacrosse (+2,000), and soccer (+1,932). The chart below makes it very clear that although more women’s teams than men’s have been added every year, there are still many men’s teams being added to compensate the programs that have been dropped (GAO 2001).
This paper is in 10 parts, This is part 4.