Before 1972, institutions such as universities could deny a woman acceptance based on her gender alone. If she was accepted to a coeducational university as part of a quota of female students, her gender limited her opportunities within her education, her chance to play a sport, or even defend herself against sexual harassment. Schools expected female students to enroll in primarily female classes, which excluded them from male dominated classes like engineering and science (Winslow). The severe lack of opportunities available to women from the start of their post-secondary education would be just the beginning of countless closed doors.

The passing of Title IX of the Education Amendment allowed for an increase of chances for women. Furthermore, Title IX provided the right to look to the law when those opportunities were denied because of their gender. It states: “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” (Winslow). Title IX is most directly associated with student athletics, but it helped with other issues associated with state funded schools such as:

  1. Access to higher education
  2. Career education
  3. Education for pregnant and parenting students
  4. Employment
  5. Learning environment
  6. Math and science
  7. Sexual harassment
  8. Standardized testing
  9. Technology
  10. Athletics


By opening access to so many important facets of education at all levels, female students would have more opportunities for success. Some women pushed through the numerous barriers before 1972, but not proportion to chances for their male counterparts by any means. Title IX would allow for an immense amount of opportunities for female students, which would start a domino effect. For example, young women who would have otherwise been excluded from graduate schools, or even undergraduate schools, could go on to become lawyers and fight for other women.

Click here for a timeline of Title IX.

*Refer to the “Works Cited” section in the drop down menu for full citations.

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