Title IX

26 02 2013

Last year the nation witnessed the 40th anniversary of Title IX, an act created in 1972 for the purpose of establishing

Title IX refers to more than athletics, it also aims to provide equality in careers in science.  This photograph shows an early MSU women's physics lab.

Title IX refers to more than athletics, it also aims to provide equality in careers in science. This photograph shows an early MSU women’s physics lab.

equal education opportunities between men and women.  Title IX, also known as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act for its co-author Patsy Mink (herself the first woman of color on Congress), seeks to eliminate sex discrimination by focusing on: opportunities for higher education and career education, employment equality, expansion of math, science, and technology careers to women, models of standardized testing, equality and expansion of athletics, education for pregnant or disabled students, creating a safe learning environment, and ceasing sexual harassment and bullying.  Title IX requires any school that receives federal funding to meet certain education equality standards because, aside from the obvious fact that women demanded equality, it came to be known that lack of educational equality (especially in athletics) was directly related to depressed economic conditions and was detrimental to the health of women, including but not limited to increased rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, breast cancer, obesity, drug use, and pregnancy.

Women at MSU could participate in a number of club sports prior to Title IX.  This photograph is of the 1920s rifle club.

Women at MSU could participate in a number of club sports prior to Title IX. This photograph is of the 1920s rifle club.

Many Michigan women experienced the ill effects of gender discrimination and benefited from the work of Title IX.  One of these famous figures is Patricia Saunders , a world renown wrestler who was forced at the age of 12 to give up her dream because she wasn’t allowed to “play with the boys”, but who returned to her sport after the title passed and went on to become the four-time world wrestling champion and an Olympic coach.  Alexa Canady is another who faced sexist and racist discrimination in her science classes but persevered until she became the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the country.  Patsy Mink’s law has faced dozens of attempts at repeal or altercation, but many recognize its necessity in US society.  The first bill President Obama signed in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to continue the work started almost 40 years earlier.

At the time of Title IX’s inception, MSU had already started a comparatively more progressive women’s athletic program.

Softball was once of the first women's sports to be recognized at MSU, but it was still played unofficially before that point.

Softball was once of the first women’s sports to be recognized at MSU, but it was still played unofficially before that point.

Intramural and individual women’s sports were established in 1962, and within ten years the number of female participants had risen by 120,000.  After Title IX gained momentum in 1972, the funding for MSU women’s sports increased by over $80,000, women’s athletics were brought into the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, and MSU became the first Big 10 school to establish a position for a female Assistant Director of Athletics. Elsewhere in the US, women’s teams on average were allocated 2% of spending for sports, and although this situation has improved, it still has great strides to make.  As of the 2001-2002 MSU athletics report, women made up 52.4% of student athletes but still only constituted a third of the athletic expenses, and female

coaches on average made a quarter of their male counterparts’ salary; however, this goes both ways.  The male gymnastics team was cut the same year, in order to boost the number of female participants, and formerly all-female service groups were made to open membership to males.  The dedicated people over at http://www.titleix.info stress the point that the work of Title IX is not completed.  The measures implemented in 1972 must be enforced more regularly across the nation to truly end gender discrimination of all types.

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Spring Outreach Roundup

5 05 2009

The MSU Archives has had a busy couple of weeks promoting itself and our services.  On Thursday, April 23 archivist Portia Vescio gave a joint presentation with history professor Javier Pescador about Title IX era sports and Michigan State University. PowerPoint slides from that presentation are available online.

Portia also gave a lunchtime presentation on April 23 to the East Lansing Prime Time group.  She spoke about the history of the women’s course at MSU.

The Archives also participated in Take Your Child to Work Day on April 23.  Tours of the archives were offered to those who stopped by.

On May 2 the Archives participated in the David R. Caterino Collector’s Showcase at the Main Branch of the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan.  Archivists passed out collection guides on Lansing and genealogical collections as well as brochures, postcards, and publicity materials.

We will be staffing booths at several more events this summer, so please keep an eye on this page to find out what is coming up.

Archivist Ed Busch shows his daughter Emma her great grandfather in an old MSU yearbook.

Archivist Ed Busch shows his daughter Emma her great grandfather in an old MSU yearbook.





Upcoming Presentation: Title IX

16 04 2009

Next week archivist Portia Vescio and Javier Pescador of the MSU History Department will present a lecture on Title IX and MSU during the Title IX era.  Named “The Floor was Warped:  Women Athletes and MSU Athletes in the Title IX Era,” the presentation explores some advancements made by women athletes in the early 1970s, when Title IX passed.  In addition, the presentation examines a Title IX law suit filed by the women’s basketball team in 1978 against Michigan State University.  The women’s team claimed they were discriminated against in comparison to the male athletes. 

The presentation will be at 8:30am on Thursday, April 23, 2009, in 117 Berkey Hall on the MSU campus.  The event is free and open to the public.

Women's basketball team with coach Karen Langeland

Women's basketball team with coach Karen Langeland