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Bringing Title IX to Classrooms and Labs

Senior Policy Analyst Jessie DeAro discusses efforts to ensure equal opportunities for women in STEM fields using Title IX.

Yesterday was the 38th Anniversary of Title IX! Title IX has been credited for dramatic increases in the participation of women and girls in athletics programs; however, Title IX also covers equity in educational programs. One federal group working hard to ensure equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs is the Title IX Interagency Working Group. The Working Group is coordinated by the Department of Justice and currently includes representatives from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Department of Education. They recently met to discuss effective strategies for their Title IX compliance reviews of STEM programs at institutions of higher education that receive federal funds from their agencies. 

One of these effective strategies is to approach the compliance review as an opportunity to provide meaningful technical assistance to the institutions and programs under review. NASA and the Department of Energy have conducted nine compliance reviews each using this philosophy. NASA has developed a document summarizing some of the best practices discovered in Title IX and STEM: Promising Practices for STEM. The document highlights some of the practices that institutions have implemented in order to ensure participation of women and girls in STEM education programs and activities.

As we celebrate the anniversary of Title IX this week, it is important to remember that Title IX impacts much more than sports -- it affects every aspect of education. Title IX was passed to ensure women and girls were not excluded from any educational program or activity receiving federal aid. As President Obama said during his campaign, "I'm running for President to make sure that the American Dream is within reach for every young girl in this country. That, after all, is what Title IX is all about -- fulfilling our founding promise of equal opportunity for all. And that is the America we can build together -- an America where our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons."

Jessie DeAro is Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and represents OSTP on the Council on Women and Girls