OPHD Celebrates 50 Years of Title IX

50 Years of Title IX: A Landmark Civil Rights Law in Education

Image credit:
Elena Zhukova
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 financial assistance.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972

What is Title IX? 

Signed on June 23, 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal funding. The majority of primary, secondary and higher education institutions in the United States receive federal financial assistance. 

Since 1972, Title IX has become an important civil rights law. One lasting impact of Title IX is that the law afforded women access to the same athletic opportunities as men in educational settings. Title IX greatly expanded women’s participation in sports.

In 1977, Catherine MacKinnon created a framework defining sexual harassment as a form of discrimination based on sex. Soon after, MacKinnon’s framework was used in Alexander v. Yale, putting forth the legal argument that sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited under Title IX. While the case was dismissed, it resulted in educational institutions establishing grievance procedures for sexual harassment. Generations of student activists have subsequently advocated for programs to prevent and address sexual violence and harassment in educational institutions across the U.S.

In 2015, Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, sued his school board, alleging its policy of prohibiting him from using the boys' bathroom violated Title IX and the equal protection clause of the Constitution. A federal judge in Virginia ruled in his favor in 2018. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the ruling in his favor in August 2020. 

In addition to sexual harassment, the scope of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX includes discrimination based on:

  • sex stereotypes
  • sex characteristics
  • pregnancy or related conditions
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity (including the protection of transgender and non-binary people from discrimination) 

Recent developments in Title IX

UC Berkeley Title IX-Related Resources and Information

A photo from a USPS and Department of Education event about the release of stamps honoring Title IX.

Credit: Department of Education & USPS 

A person at a protest holds a sign that says "end rape culture"

Credit: Chase Carter

Gavin Grimm, wearing an ACLU sweatshirt, speaks into a megaphone and holds a phone. Another person next to them holds part of the megaphone. Behind them are people holding signs and clapping.

Credit: Geoff Livingston 



To get involved in prevention efforts, please visit the PATH to Care Center's Prevention First page and the SVSH Hub Prevention Engagement page.


Supportive Measures

Gender & Sexuality Resources

The Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq) provides support and promotes a welcoming environment for people of all genders and sexual orientations.