Title IX critics huddle up for special treatment

When I read complaints that Title IX enforcement goes too far in dealing with sexual assault on campus, I think of football. Not because this topic is a political football being tossed around in the court of public opinion, though there’s that. In the history of Title IX, today’s complainers of government “overreach” in dealing with sexual assaults have a lot in common with college football teams and other men’s sports, but especially football. What they want, it seems, is for people to realize that they’re special, and that they deserve special rules. The government more than once has bent over backwards […]

Continue reading…

Nevertheless, she persisted

Part of the fun of researching Title IX history is seeing the chain of women’s activism linking so many “foremother” feminists in politics with bad-ass female public servants of today, backed by the wider women’s movement. Progress is never simple; they lobbied, persuaded, bargained, defied, and often had to trust that their efforts would cumulate into unstoppable momentum toward equity. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the media in February, 2017 after he used an arcane Senate rule to cut off Sen. Elizabeth Warren mid-speech. Warren had been reading a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott […]

Continue reading…

Ten reasons to vote, for Title IX

Title IX itself isn’t on the ballot Nov. 8, but it might as well be. The gains made for sexual and gender fairness through Title IX were created by politicians, courts, and activists, and can be undone by them, too. Now that we’ve had several generations of women grow up and grow stronger under Title IX, I tend to think that we’ll never  go back to the days when “normal” meant only men got to make the decisions and to define what’s fair. We’ve still got a long way to go to reach equity in so many parts of our […]

Continue reading…

Lobbyists, Congressional staff influenced Title IX

[Videos feature Judy Norrell, former lobbyist for the League of Women Voters, and Barbara Dixon, former staff person for Sen. Birch Bayh.] Title IX wasn’t just an act of Congress, nor did it come simply from the demands of women’s activist organizations. There’s plenty of overlap between insiders and outsiders in Washington, D.C. and varying degrees of insider- or outsider-ness depending on the person and the situation. Women were small in number compared with men working in the nation’s capitol in the 1970s, which made it easier, in some ways, to find each other and collaborate as both insiders and outsiders. Female […]

Continue reading…

Women’s rights, minority rights inseparable

VIDEO: Francelia Gleaves (now McKindra) not only was one of the first people to work at length on Title IX issues in the 1970s, she was one of the few African Americans doing this work. To her mind, minorities’ civil rights and women’s rights were inseparable, though not everyone felt that way, she says in this 2015 interview. A lot was happening on both fronts at that time. White America still was slow to adjust to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which, by the way, failed to prohibit discrimination based on sex in some of its provisions, hence the need […]

Continue reading…