An electronic publication of the WEEA Equity Resource Center

 

Highlights of the WEEA Equity Resource Centerís
Dialogue with the Experts
"Gender Equity Now:
Celebrating 30 Years of Title IX"
May 20-31, 2002

Following are highlights from a lively two-week discussion on EdEquity, the WEEA Centerís international electronic discussion group. The over 800 subscribers to the list include educators, administrators, equity practitioners, advocates, parents, policymakers, counselors, and others interested in ongoing peer exchanges and professional development. In this thought-provoking and informative dialogue, nine distinguished gender equity experts from around the country shared their reflections on the changes that have occurred as a result of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Dialogue participants also outlined the major challenges that remain to achieving gender equity.

Title IX Successes
The participants detailed numerous reasons to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this landmark legislation. For example, one panelist commented:

I think about the equalizing of educator salaries, the desegregation of most classes and schools on the basis of sex, the increase in athletic and other extra-curricular opportunities for all students. I also think about the dramatic changes in post-secondary educational opportunities and degree attainment for females. Title IX has contributed to changes in our workforce, our families, our communities and our government.

Another summarized the importance of the law this way: "The major impact of Title IX has been in expanding options and changing attitudes and expectations related to gender roles in our society."

Remaining Challenges
However, the participants agreed that even as we celebrate these achievements, we must be aware that much work needs to be done to reach the goal of equity. One panelist offered this view of the students she encounters:

In a way, the students I work with are like the youngest daughter of Title IX legislation. The girls are not shy to say they will be astronauts, veterinarians, pediatric oncologists, and vets at the zoo or at Sea World. However, I sense a quiet, persistent theme in working with these students. There is still a sense of limited expectations. Gender equity is often marginalized and not well linked to diversity.

Panelists offered some examples of how gender inequities are manifested today: persistent sex segregation in vocational training programs, with girls and women clustered in programs that are traditional for their sex and that lead to low-wage jobs; colleges and universities continue to spend the lionís share of athletics money on menís programming; pervasive sexual harassment faced by female students in our nationís schools; and lower participation of women and girls in technology than men and boys.

Click here to read this Dialogue in its entirety.
Click here for information on the panelists.

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