June 23, 1972
Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments represented the first federal legislative treatment of gender discrimination in education. Gender discrimination in employment had been prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but discrimination with respect to students was not covered, and there was growing evidence of and social concern over such discrimination throughout the 1960s. The federal government took several initiatives against gender discrimination in the 1960s—the Equal Pay Act of 1863, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Executive Order 11246 in 1967 requiring affirmative action to address employment discrimination—but these did not focus on education. Title IX addressed the issue comprehensively. With only a few exceptions, it prohibits any form of gender discrimination in all educational programs receiving federal funds, whether at the primary, secondary, or postsecondaiy level. It covers the treatment of all women in education, whether they are students, teachers, or support staff. Title IX has played a key, perhaps essential, role in protecting the rights of female students and personnel in schools and expanding educational programming and opportunity to women.
Politically, a series of competing proposals in Congress dealt with gender discrimination in 1971 and 1972, but Title IX was not a major factor in the larger debate over the Education Amendments. Following some parliamentary maneuvers, the final version of Title IX passed rather uneventfully. Significant political conflict followed passage, however, particularly over the impact of Title IX on collegiate athletics and the extent to which Title IX allowed the federal