One of SWE’s advocacy priorities is urging federal agencies to apply Title IX in a way that supports and protects women in STEM—whether it’s young women being exposed to STEM in K-12 schools, undergraduate and graduate students growing their STEM knowledge and skills, women researchers contributing to important innovations, or women faculty that teach and mentor future women in STEM.
Title IX was enacted by Congress in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments. It is focused on ensuring that no one in the United States is subjected to sex discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial assistance. Though best known for its influence on sports participation and scholarships, it is equally applicable to STEM participation and research supported by federal funds. Any institution receiving grant funding from federal agencies is required to comply with the rules of Title IX. In recent years, efforts to revise the regulatory guidance provided to schools, postsecondary institutions and others has been subject to a number of revisions.
Most recently, the Biden Administration proposed new guidance. Over 200,000 comments were submitted in response to the proposal. Commenters included lawmakers, advocacy groups, professional educator associations and individuals. SWE weighed in with the Department of Education via a number of collaborative efforts, including joining comments from the National Women’s Law Center. In addition, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education—of which SWE is a member—filed comments on how to Title IX can better support pregnant and parenting students.
It will take the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights some time to sort through and respond to the comments, but final regulations are expected to result in an increased number of both investigations and reports related to Title IX protections and enforcements. Advocates are pushing for the guidance to be complete in early 2023.
You can learn more about Title IX, how it supports women in STEM, and review related research on the matter here.