Title IX was created with a focus on education, but its impact on athletics has been phenomenal. It prohibited any educational institution that received federal funds from denying students from participating in educational programs or activities on the basis of sex. After the establishment of Title IX, the athletic environment in many schools in the United States began to change.
In 1971, one year before the passage of Title IX, only 294,000 girls participated in high school sports, compared to 3,700,000 boys. Several decades later, Title IX brought about a 940% increase in female participation in high school sports and a 19% increase in male participation in high school sports. On the college level, the NCAA reported a 456% increase in female participation in sports and a 31% increase in male participation in sports.
Before 1972, almost no college (except historically black colleges and universities) offered women athletic scholarships. After Title IX, female NCAA athletes receive 45% of college athletic scholarships. But this is still $183 million less in scholarships than male NCAA athletes receive.
The effects of Title IX were not only felt in an increase of female participation in sports, but in many other benefits as well, such as a decline in obesity, better grades and higher self-esteem.
Another important result of the groundbreaking legislation has been evident in society as well.
"With Title IX, society conveyed a critical message to girls and young women: that the world of athletics was theirs, too, and that the benefits that come from participation could positively affect many dimensions of their lives," said Peggy Williams, President of Ithaca (N.Y.) College, whose women's softball team won the NCAA Division III national title in 2002.
Title IX has given new opportunities for girls and women across the country, but equity has yet to be achieved. Many Title IX advocacy groups strive to encourage more girls and females to participate in athletics, but it is important to note that everyone needs to make an effort in order to continue the positive trend of female participation in sports.