On June 3, 1972, the Title IX law was passed in order to prevent gender discrimination in high schools and colleges throughout the United States. Title IX states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Although Title IX was passed 49 years ago, its effects still impact students to this day, even in our own community at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech). Title IX made it so that now, women have more opportunities in education and schools are held accountable for their equity.
Title IX is best known for its impact on athletics but this law reaches much further. It applies to “higher education, career education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, learning environment, math and science, sexual harassment, standardized testing, and technology.” Simply put, Title IX requires schools to look more deeply into complaints regarding gender inequality and give equal treatment to all students.
While Title IX includes all aspects of education there is a reason it is best known for its impact on athletics. It shook the world of school sports when it was first introduced, encouraging more girls to play and raised their participation from 1 in 27 to 2 in 5. More women were able to get sports scholarships and their teams were better funded. Title IX helped girls have more opportunities and better experiences in athletics.
While Title IX did make this huge impact, it was a gradual process that took the time and effort of many people. The year that it was passed only 7.4% of high school athletes were women. It wasn’t until 2001 that women athlete participation increased to 41.5%. Title IX didn’t fix everything instantly in other areas of education like scholarships, college degrees and collegiate competitive sports.
Title IX has helped shape the lives of athletes even in our own community. It was already making an impact on education when Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) was founded since Title IX was a part of setting up the school from the very beginning.
When asked about the impact of Title IX on Foothill Tech, the current athletic director, Jamal Brown said, “when the program was set up seven years ago by Principal Joe Bova, the athletic director at the time Emily Stevens and Title IX coordinator, Jeff Davis, it was done in the right way.” Foothill Tech was fortunate enough to be built with this as a foundation, however there were some schools in Ventura that would have to experience change because of it.
Karrie Carey, the current athletic secretary for Foothill Tech explains, “we built our program in accordance with Title IX. I think probably the other schools in the district who have been open longer may have made some adjustments over the years but we were able to set up in accordance with Title IX.” There is no doubt that Title IX has had a major impact on student athletes in Ventura. In the past, there were very few opportunities for girls’ athletics. “My mother graduated from high school in 1968 from Buena High school and I remember having conversations with her and her feeling kind of slighted because women just didn’t have opportunities back in those times,” explained Brown.
“She was very athletic, but her only outlet was cheerleading. In seeing where we are at now in 2020 and seeing all the opportunities especially at Foothill [Tech] I just smile and I know my mom is smiling from up in heaven in seeing that she can see young ladies compete in athletic events.”
Thanks to Title IX, students now have more equal opportunities to succeed in sports and other aspects of education. “We are really proud of what we built here. When the program was being made, the time was really taken to make sure there was equal access,” says Carey. Title IX continues to bring opportunities to schools throughout the country. Schools can now build off of what it stands for and create a more equitable program for their students.