Title ix Sex Discrimination

Title IX & Sex Discrimination Protection, Violation and Examples

Discrimination against women has always been there in our educational programs. But, before Title IX, the conditions were far worse than today. Back then, women had little to no access to higher education. They were excluded from male-only programs. Colleges had an admission quota for women. And they required higher test scores and grades from women for admission. 

Those who secured admission had difficulty getting scholarships. Similarly, little opportunities existed for women to participate in college athletics. Even female faculties faced discrimination at work. They were rarely awarded tenure. And they had to work under more restrictive conditions than their male colleagues.

What Is Title IX

Title IX is a pivotal U.S. federal law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution receiving federal funding. This comprehensive legislation covers a range of issues from admissions and student services to athletics and employment, ensuring equal opportunities for all genders. It is widely recognized for its role in addressing sexual harassment and violence in educational settings, mandating that schools take prompt action to resolve and prevent such issues. Enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Title IX has been instrumental in promoting gender equality in education.

Title IX’s protections are not only for female students and staff

The scope of Title IX extends to safeguard individuals from discrimination based on sex, encompassing all genders, identities, and expressions. It affirms the rights of women, men, and gender non-conforming people against any form of sex-based discrimination, including harassment and violence.

Educational institutions must actively ensure a non-discriminatory campus environment.

Your rights under Title IX are upheld even without direct experience of sex discrimination. Educational institutions are required to respond promptly and effectively to sex discrimination, harassment, or violence to prevent adverse impacts on students. Schools that are aware, or should be aware, of a hostile environment must take action to stop the discrimination, remedy the harm, and prevent its recurrence. They must not deter survivors from their education by suggesting absences or withdrawal from activities. You retain the right to stay on campus and participate fully in all educational programs and opportunities.

What does Title IX protect against?

Title IX of the education amendments act was established in 1972 to address this gap. The purpose of the law was to ensure that women received equal opportunities to take part in educational programs and activities. 

Under Title IX, schools and colleges cannot discriminate among students, faculty, and staff on the basis of sex or gender identity. They must have systems in place to deter such harassment and develop policies to promote a bias-free culture. 

Title IX protections encompass all programs funded by federal money. And the protections extend to all aspects of education. This includes recruitment, admission, course offerings, counseling, scholarships, facilities and housing, and athletics. 

Title IX protects against all types of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment, bullying, stereotyping, and sexual violence are considered as Title IX offenses. 

Furthermore, institutions cannot show bias against parenting students and staff because of pregnancy, birth of a child, miscarriage or termination of pregnancy. 

What would be a violation of Title IX?

Here are five examples of discrimination based on sex. Title IX considers all such activities as a violation of Title IX.   

  • Discrimination in Athletics

Colleges are required to have athletics teams for both men and women. In the case of gendered sports, the college should have an alternative sport for the other students.

Moreover, colleges should act fairly when providing facilities to their male and female teams. Any bias towards a team is likely to be considered as discrimination.

  • Discrimination in Educational programs

Excluding a female professor from tenure because of her sex is a clear violation of Title IX. Similarly, discriminating against an enrolled student in academic activities because of her pregnancy or the birth of a child is also a Title IX violation.

  • Sexual Harassment

Stalking, obscene phone calls, texts, gestures, or inappropriate touching are considered as sexual harassment. Mistreating people because of their gender or gender identity is also considered as a Title IX violation.

  • Sexual Violence

The new Title IX regulations have expanded the definition of Sexual harassment under Title IX. Domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault will now be considered as unlawful discrimination. Colleges must act promptly upon receiving such complaints.

  • Retaliation

Retaliation is another big issue covered under Title IX. Retaliation against a student or staff, because they filed a complaint is illegal under Title IX. Colleges are bound under Title IX to provide accommodations to the complainant to protect them from retaliation and ensure that the person can continue with their educational program or activities.

What are the Title IX protections?

Title IX has put procedures in place to deal with sexual discrimination in education. Colleges need to have systems in place for preventing sex discrimination in their programs and activities. This includes having a Title IX complaint procedure for resolving Title IX complaints. 

Here are the main protections available to victims of sexual discrimination under Title IX

  • Non-discrimination policy

Colleges must create and distribute a non-discrimination policy. This policy must affirm the college’s commitment to providing equal opportunities to all students and staff irrespective of their sex or gender identity. The policy should also affirm their stand against discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence.

  • Title IX Coordinator

All institutions need to appoint a member of their staff as Title IX coordinators. The job of the Title IX coordinator is to oversee compliance, create Title IX compliant processes, and handle Title IX complaints. Victims can approach Title IX coordinators with their complaints.

  • Internal Title IX grievance procedure

Schools and colleges are required to establish formal Title IX processes for handling Title IX complaints.

Upon receiving a Title IX complaint, colleges are bound to investigate the issue. The college must then conduct a formal hearing to resolve the issue.

  • File report with the Department of Education (DoE)

Victims of harassment and discrimination can also approach the DoE and file a claim against their college for violating Title IX. The Department of Education can penalize colleges for such violations. They can also force the college to change its policies and procedures.

  • File a lawsuit

Title IX allows victims to file a lawsuit against the institution for failing to protect their Title IX rights. Victims can file for compensation under Title IX, and claim damages from the colleges for failing to protect them.

Examples of Title IX Violations

Title IX encompasses various forms of discrimination such as:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Lack of equal opportunities in athletics
  • Gender-based discrimination
  • Discrimination due to pregnancy.


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