Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Title IX

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal aid."

That is the the text of Title IX, the amendment that created the opportunity for young women to participate in athletics on an equal footing with boys. But its author, legendary Indiana Democratic Senator Birch Bayh, didn't have sports in mind but education when he inserted the Equal Rights Amendment's education provision into the Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1972: "I thought that of all the areas of discrimination against women, the thing that had the greatest detrimental impact was not letting them have an education. If you give an education to a man or woman, or to a boy or girl, they have the freedom to do what they want in life."

Read Indy Star political columnist Matt Tully's wonderful article about Birch Bayh and the creation of the landmark Title IX here. Bayh speaks about the women in his life who influenced him to take a stance that changed so much for women in this country,