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What you need to know about Title IX ahead of its 50th anniversary

Thirty-seven words allowed women to finally pursue athletic and academic opportunities at the next level, expanding gender equity nationwide for generations to come.

Northwestern lacrosse won seven national championships between 2005 and 2012 (shown above in 2007), making it the most successful team on campus. Lacrosse was elevated to the varsity level in 2002, after women’s golf, soccer and cross country were elevated in the ‘90s.

Signed into law by Richard Nixon, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:

With the simple addition of the word “activity,” the bill, spearheaded by Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, required every school receiving federal funding to provide equal opportunities for both men and women in sports as well as in the classroom. High schools and universities were given three years to comply with the legislation, and elementary schools were given one.

June 23, 2022, marks the 50th anniversary of the date the bill was signed. Here at Inside NU, we are dedicating our content until then to Title IX and its impact on women’s sports and female athletes at Northwestern and across the country.

Northwestern now boasts 11 women’s programs with several legendary coaches and championship-caliber teams. If anything, the evident success of Wildcat spring sports was a clear indication of the strength of NU’s current women’s programs — but their winning ways extend far beyond recent memory.

From the mid-'70s — when women were first offered athletic scholarships to Northwestern — until now, women have cycled through Evanston to play sports on the shores of Lake Michigan in the purple and white. They’ve graduated and become educators, administrators, attorneys, coaches and government officials, increasing representation for women along the way.

We’re not the only outlet focused on this milestone anniversary, and, thanks to the internet, there are ample resources to learn more about Title IX and its impact and listen to the stories of women in sports. Here are some of our top picks for referencing throughout the month:

  1. Title IX Fast Facts from Women’s Sports Foundation
  2. Title IX rundown from NBC Sports
  3. ESPN’s Fifty/50 Initiative

Stay tuned throughout the week as we look back on how the opportunities offered by Title IX have changed the lives of women at Northwestern and beyond.