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History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed


Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX by President Richard Nixon.

The measure prohibits discrimination against women when it comes to the vast majority of educational programs that receive federal assistance.

It has a broad and extraordinary impact on everything from college campus safety to athletics to public school education. However, progress has sometimes been halted.

Here is a timeline of key events before, during and after the landmark US law was passed in 1972:

1836: Georgia Female College is the first college for women to open in the United States

1917: Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to Congress.

1920: American women gain the right to vote.

1936: A federal appeals court actually says doctors can prescribe birth control to women.

1947: The first report of the Truman Commission calls for more equitable access to higher education, including an end to racial and religious discrimination.

1953: Toni Stone becomes the first woman to regularly play professional baseball (Negro Leagues).

SEE ALSO: What is Title IX?

1954: The United States Supreme Court rules that “separate educational institutions are inherently unequal” in the landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

1960: Wilma Rudolph becomes the first American woman to win three Olympic gold medals. The black sprinter star becomes a prominent civil rights activist.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1963: The Commission on the Status of Women, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, finds widespread discrimination against women in the United States and urges federal courts that “the principle of equality become firmly established in constitutional doctrine”. Congress passes the Equal Pay Act.

1964: The Civil Rights Act includes sex as one of the things employers cannot discriminate against. It also establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hawaii’s Patsy Mink becomes first woman of color elected to U.S. House; she then co-authored Title IX, the Early Childhood Education Act and the Equal Women in Education Act.

1965: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides federal funding to K-12 schools with low-income student populations. President Lyndon Johnson also signs the Higher Education Act of 1965 which gives students access to loans, scholarships and other programs.

1966: The National Organization for Women is established, calling for women to have “full participation in mainstream American society…in a truly equal partnership with men.”

1967: Aretha Franklin covers Otis Redding’s 1965 hit, “Respect”, and it quickly becomes a feminist anthem.

1969: New York Democrat Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman in Congress. She later becomes the first woman to seek the presidential nomination.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1971: The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) is founded to govern collegiate women’s athletics and administer national championships.

1972: Congress passes Title IX, which is signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, because of sex, be excluded from participation in, denied benefits, or discriminated against in connection with any program of education or an activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Congress also passes the Equal Rights Amendment, but it never gets the 38 state approval needed to become law.

1973: The Supreme Court renders its opinion Roe c. Wade establishing the right to abortion. Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in straight sets in “The Battle of the Sexes” tennis exhibition match.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1974: The Women’s Educational Equity Act provides grants and contracts to help “gender-neutral programs,” as well as to help institutions meet Title IX requirements.

1975: President Gerald Ford signs Title IX athletic regulations, which give athletic departments up to three years to implement them, after noting that “it was the intention of Congress, regardless reason for interpretation, to include athletics”.

1976: NCAA challenges the legality of Title IX regarding athletics in a lawsuit that is dismissed two years later.

1977: Three female Yale students, two graduates and a male faculty member become the first to sue for sexual harassment under Title IX (Alexander v. Yale). He would fail on appeal.

1979: Ann Meyers becomes the first woman to sign an NBA contract (Indiana Pacers, $500,000). She had been the first woman to receive a basketball scholarship from UCLA.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1979: US officials have enforced the important three-pronged test for Title IX compliance in athletics.

1980: Oversight of Title IX is entrusted to the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education.

nineteen eighty one: Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1982: Louisiana Tech defeats Cheyney State for the first NCAA women’s basketball title. Two months later, the AIAW folded, placing top women’s collegiate sports entirely under the umbrella of the NCAA. Cheryl Miller scores 105 points in a high school game to launch one of the greatest careers in basketball history.

1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman to win a vice-presidential nomination from a major political party. The United States wins its first Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball.

1987: Pat Summitt wins the first of her eight national women’s basketball titles in Tennessee.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

1988: Congress overturns President Ronald Reagan’s veto of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, mandating the application of Title IX to any school receiving federal funds.

1994: The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act is passed. Under Title IX, schools with federal financial aid and athletics programs must provide annual gender equity information, including roster sizes and certain budgets.

1995: Connecticut wins first of 11 national titles under coach Geno Auriemma.

1996: Female athletes win lawsuit and force Brown to restore funding to women’s gymnastics and volleyball after saying school violated Title IX by turning both teams into donor-funded entities. The NBA clears the way for the Women’s National Basketball Association to begin play the following year.

1999: Brandi Chastain’s penalty gives USA victory over China in World Cup final, reinvigorating women’s sport in USA

2001: Ashley Martin becomes the first woman to play and score in a Division I football game as a placekicker for Jacksonville State.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

2008: Danica Patrick wins the Japan 300 and becomes the first woman to win the highest level of American open-wheel racing.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

2014: Becky Hammon becomes the first full-time assistant coach in NBA history.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

2015: USA’s 5-2 victory over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final becomes the most-watched football game in American television history.

2016: Citing Title IX, the Obama administration says transgender students in public schools should be allowed to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity, the directive was overturned by the Trump administration. Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination.

2017: Serena Williams wins her 23rd Grand Slam title, the second of all time.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

2020: New amendments to Title IX come into force, mainly regarding sexual harassment.

2021: A report is tearing the NCAA apart for failing to live up to its commitment to gender equity by prioritizing its lucrative Division I men’s basketball tournament “over everything else,” including women’s championships.

2022: Dawn Staley of South Carolina becomes the first black Division I basketball coach, male or female, to win more than one national championship. The United States Women’s National Soccer Team reaches a landmark deal to be paid equally with the Men’s National Team.

History of Title IX: From Billie Jean King to the USWNT, a look at key events 50 years after landmark civil rights legislation was passed

Watch Sofia Carson host “Our America: Fifty50,” a special on ABC-owned TV stations commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, on your local ABC station (click here for local listings) or wherever you stream: Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.




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