Celebrities, women athletes, and politicians spoke out in support of Title IX on National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Wednesday. Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education, including athletic programs, is under attack by President Bush’s so-called Commission for Educational Opportunity. The Commission held its final meetings last week in DC, where women’s groups rallied to save the landmark law. On Wednesday, such prominent figures as Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), actors Holly Hunter and Geena Davis, and former Senator and an original Title IX sponsor Birch Bayh promised to fight to protect Title IX. “We will fight this as long and as hard as it takes, and Title IX will be a part of the American dream,” Sen. Daschle told the Associated Press. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) last week pledged on the Senate floor to “vigorously defend and enforce Title IX in all of the areas it covers so we can sustain and expand upon the progress” made for women and girls in education and athletics, according to the Whip Round-Up.
Today, there are 2.7 million girls that participate in high school sports and 150,000 that are active in collegiate athletics. Women’s groups have already vowed to fight the attack on Title IX because these high school and college women athletes are the ones who stand to lose from the new measures being presented by the Bush Administration. The women’s groups are worried that the chipping away at athletics could eventually lead to a broader attack on Title IX.
The Commission for Educational Opportunities will present its final report on Title IX to Education Secretary Roderick Paige on February 28. With a commission largely made up of opponents to Title IX, the report is expected to recommend a weakening of the law.