As female graduate students, you have likely heard something about Title IX. However, these conversations are usually staged during orientation, or in response to a negative event on campus. This post is meant to provide you with basic information about Title IX. It is important to know this information in case you or another person is ever faced with a situation of gender inequity in any of the areas covered by Title IX. If you are a new graduate student, or someone looking to go to graduate school, you have no reason to assume you will need to use these resources, but should be knowledgeable about their existence.
What is Title IX and how did it come into being?
Title IX is a law which requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding, and was passed in 19721. This law applies to ten different areas:
- Access to Higher Education
- Career Education
- Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students
- Learning Environment
- Math and Science
- Sexual Harassment
- Standardized Testing
As female engineers in higher education, Title IX certainly attempts to reduce discrimination within our fields. Most modern implications of Title IX circle around sexual discrimination in the workplace or in higher education. While some universities came under fire in recent years for not appropriately dealing with these situations, we are hopeful that most universities provide the appropriate support to their students, as well as appropriate sanctions to those performing the sexual assault.
How can I find out more about Title IX on my campus?
If your institution receives federal funding, it must dedicate and train at least one employee to coordinate the Title IX responsibilities. If you have more questions about Title IX for your program specifically, this person will be your best point of contact. Additionally, if you are a victim of a Title IX infringement (situation or action which breaks the Title IX law), seek out resources on your campus to appropriately file this issue, but also to assist in your recovery from the incident. Many institutions offer health consultations, and student groups often host workshops to assist in these situations.
We encourage everyone to keep an open mind – do not anticipate you will need these resources, but instead understand that this knowledge will keep you informed.