Let’s end the rhetoric that implies that equality for women causes men to underachieve. The benefits of Title IX are not limited to opening opportunities for girls and women who are happier, healthier and more confident because they have played sports.

What Title IX has achieved in influencing boys and men who respect girls and women and their athletic, academic and workplace abilities is every bit as important and nothing short of remarkable.

Even so, there remains a persistence of inequities. Women’s sports participation opportunities, operating budgets, and scholarship and recruitment dollars are still vastly lower than for men’s sports.

The benefits of Title IX to both women and men will not be fully realized until equality is achieved.

Below are Letters to the Editor of the New York Times, Published: July 14, 2006:

Ladies, Don’t Throw the Title IX Game!

To the Editor:

“Let the Guys Win One,” by John Tierney (column, July 11), is an unwarranted attack on Title IX and equity in higher education.

The American Association of University Women has long been working to dispel the myth that expanded educational opportunities for women have come at the expense of men. The same applies to collegiate sports.

Research shows that most schools still fail to provide equitable athletic opportunities for women. Further, Title IX does not require equal allocation of athletic scholarships between the sexes — more men get a free ride.

Mr. Tierney says that a lot of women who are not dedicated athletes “have better things to do, like study or work on other extracurricular activities.” Such comments perpetuate the very stereotypes about women’s roles that Title IX is designed to dispel.

Pitting one sex against the other is not a “winning goal” in the larger issue of improving education.

Ruth Z. Sweetser
President, American Association of University Women
Washington, July 11, 2006

To the Editor:

John Tierney cites the “myth” that “women need sports as much as men do” to justify his call to roll back certain provisions of Title IX.

But the real myths about Title IX are that it requires identical athletic programs for men and women and that it mandates that the same amount of financing be devoted to men’s and women’s athletics. In fact, only on scholarships does Title IX require that the same dollars be spent proportional to participation.

Title IX was a landmark victory for equal opportunity. It created an even playing field, giving women a fair shot at college scholarships and thus aiding the steady rise in the number of female doctors, lawyers, professors and corporate executives.

While there may be legitimate concerns about a possible gap in educational achievement between young men and women, ganging up on the girls on the playing field by eviscerating Title IX is neither a winning nor a sporting strategy.

Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress, 14th Dist., N.Y.
Washington, July 12, 2006

To the Editor:

Women have a right to play this game, too. Women may not be able to throw a football for 60 yards, but they believe in teamwork, working hard, playing fair and winning. And they do it knowing they won’t be treated as gods, as male athletes are.

When they come off the field, women may get only hugs and pats on the back, but I’m betting that a lot of those hugs will come from supportive fathers and brothers.

That’s why I say women should not throw this fight. We won the battle in 1972 to have the same opportunity to develop our athletic talents and earn college scholarships as men do, and if John Tierney and his supporters want to take Title IX away from us, they should have to fight for it.

I hope you boys got game.

Jennifer Prather
Durham, N.C., July 11, 2006

To the Editor:

Title IX forbids sex discrimination throughout any educational institution, including classes, hiring and admissions, if the institution receives federal funds. Intercollegiate athletics, the subject of John Tierney’s lament, is a minor if much-debated section of the law.

Given Title IX’s broader goals, sports ought not to be the last bastion for men, who are struggling in other areas of academia. Indeed, schools and colleges are still struggling to figure out how to encourage male and female students to take advantage of the educational opportunities before them — in their academics, in extracurricular activities and certainly in sports.

Welch Suggs
Atlanta, July 11, 2006
(The writer is the author of a book about Title IX and college sports)


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