Title IX advocates say Black Lives Matter

A professional association of Title IX administrators recently proclaimed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit in Minnesota claims that protecting transgender students’ rights amounts to discrimination against girls under Title IX. The intersections between discrimination based on sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, etc. — and how these intersections are used to try to achieve political goals — have always been part of Title IX history. Perhaps never more so than today. The statement released by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) generated a standing ovation when first read at its […]

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Women got Ford to fund Title IX

                        A good idea doesn’t go very far, very fast without financing. In the early years of Title IX, key funds came through a new cohort of women hired or promoted by the Ford Foundation. Uppity women on the Foundation’s staff pressured senior management in the early 1970s to diversify its white-males bastion of decision-makers and to direct more of its funding to issues pertinent to women and people of color. The same process was happening in all parts of society thanks to civil rights movements and the second-wave women’s movement. Ford’s response […]

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My Title IX reading list (or what I did this summer)

Current news articles and analyses provide helpful nuggets of background related to Title IX, such as a New York Times Magazine article on The Return of the Sex Wars. But to sample the bigger buffet of Title IX history from the past 50 years, I’ve been devouring books and films, digging into research libraries, and savoring original documents generously sent me by the people I’ve been interviewing. Bernice Sandler told me that she once set a goal of owning every book about equality for women, which might have been possible decades ago, but she soon found that the second wave of […]

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Too [fill in the blank] for a woman

Whatever you think of the outcome of Ellen Pao’s lawsuit claiming sex discrimination at the famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, a tactic used by the company’s defense team could make one cringe — character assassination. (Video: Bernice Sandler, who was “too strong for a woman.”) Telling a woman that she is too exacting, too condescending, too abrasive, too strong, too weak,  too whatever to be hired, promoted, etc. is an age-old excuse used countless times to deny women opportunities that might be offered to a man who has the same qualities. (Speaking generally now, not specifically about Pao’s […]

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Video history from women behind Title IX

Eleven of the women most closely involved in the struggle to implement Title IX gathered on January 26, 2015 to give a living history of this most important legislation for U.S. women since the right to vote. Focusing mainly on the early years after its passage in 1972, they also shared their fears that Title IX’s hard-won gains could be lost if people don’t remain vigilant in supporting it. I’m thankful to Margaret Dunkle for organizing the luncheon at the Woman’s National Democratic Club and for including me as I research my book on the people behind Title IX.

Title IX foremothers gather in D.C.

I’m heading home from an intensive two weeks in Washington, D.C. doing interviews and research for my book on the people behind Title IX, and I’m especially grateful to Margaret Dunkle for inviting me to a historic gathering of 11 of the remaining foremothers of Title IX for me to witness, listen to, and interview. Some brought momentos for show-and-tell. Here’s Deborah Ashford holding a poster that the Carter Administration issued to show that he’d kept his promise to appoint more women to government positions. Look who’s right next to each other — a young Hillary Rodham (center, left) and […]

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