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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Too [fill in the blank] for a woman

Whatever you think of the outcome of the lawsuit by Ellen Pao 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 […]

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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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37 words that inspired thousands

Bernice Sandler wanted to be a professor. Patsy Takemoto Mink hoped to be a doctor. Meg Newman wanted to play baseball in high school. Emma Sulkowicz just wanted to feel safe on her college campus. Thirty-seven words make those dreams possible today — too late for some of these women, but possible for millions of others, and only because people like Sandler, Mink, Newman, and Sulkowicz fought back when the people in charge told them to go away. These battles are not over. They’re in the news every day. Those 37 words make up Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, […]

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