Molly O'Malley: 50 Years of Title IX

On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into law.

Co-authored by Hawaii's Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink and Oregon’s Congresswoman Edith Green, Title IX was 37 words that transformed education for America's women.

As we lead up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX, I wanted to share the story of the pioneer of Title IX.

Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first Japanese American woman to serve in Congress. It was her journey through law school and employment that eventually led to her authoring Title IX.

After her undergraduate program in zoology, Patsy was denied by numerous medical schools due to her sex, but that wasn’t the last time Patsy would face discrimination. After many denials, she decided to practice law and was admitted into the University of Chicago Law School. After getting married and graduating law school in 1951, Patsy and her husband moved to Hawaii after Patsy couldn’t find a job. In Hawaii, Patsy was denied the opportunity to take the bar exam due to a domicile law that required women to take the residency status of their husbands, her husband was from Pennsylvania, and it was decided that due to this, she gave up her residency and wasn’t eligible to take the bar. She appealed on the basis that her and her husband never resided in Pennsylvania and won, then passed the bar. She applied for numerous jobs, all turning her down because “women shouldn’t be out late” and some jobs denying her on the spot when learning that she already had a child and she “might have another child.”

Patsy eventually started her own practice and then made her way to politics, where her life experiences shaped her decisions in Congress.

Title IX has evolved and has taken a front seat in education in the past decade.

I can 100% say that I have no recollection of being taught about Title IX in my K12 days. I didn’t learn what it was until college.

I know that is different now.

  • I was watching the Women’s Softball College World Series the other day and right there behind the batter’s box was the Title IX symbol.
  • The U.S. Post Office created Title IX stamps to commemorate these last 50 years.
  • The NCAA and sports networks are creating videos on all the good Title IX has done.
  • There are numerous stories you can find on the internet where Title IX has been credited with maintaining or reaching equality in education.

But the problem with this is that for each story, a disservice was done initially. For every triumph, there was harmed party.

I think the last line of this Margaret Dunkle quote sums up my thoughts on where we are: “First it was admissions to graduate school, and then sports and athletics, and then it became discrimination and pregnancy. If you were a high school girl, and you got pregnant, you were likely to be kicked out of school, and your boyfriend, who was captain of the football team, was likely to graduate and get college scholarships for football. Then it was issues of sexual harassment. They’re not resolved yet, but we’ve come a long way in terms of having ways to address them.”

We are on our way, but there is still work to be done.

Join me in celebrating 50 years of Title IX with our parent association, The Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), with its "Special 50th Anniversary Edition of Time with IX: Discussing the Book, 37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination” on Thursday, June 23, from 3-4:30 p.m.

Learn more and register for the event.

If you have any questions, comments, or want to report a Title IX related matter, please contact me via email at or by phone 330-325-6736.

Our policy can be found in the Policy Portal.

-- Submitted by Molly O'Malley, associate director of DEI and Title IX,

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