Myths about Title IX
Myth: Title IX only applies to athletic programs.
This is perhaps the most widely held misconception about Title IX. Athletics are not the only component of academic life governed by Title IX. Other areas which fall within the scope of Title IX include:
- Recruitment, Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Course Offerings and Access
- Hiring and Retention of Employees
- Benefits and Leave
Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault and sexual violence.
Myth: Title IX requires that male athletic opportunities be decreased to provide opportunities for female programs.
Title IX is designed to create parity in athletics, as well as other educational opportunities and experiences for men and women. Title IX does not require schools to cut men’s athletic programs. Each school determines how it will comply with Title IX regulations.
Myth: Title IX applies only to discrimination against women.
The university has an obligation to respond appropriately to complaints of sex and gender discrimination regardless of the sex of the alleged perpetrator or complainant, including when they are members of the same sex. Title IX also protects against discrimination based on gender identity (actual or perceived) or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or feminity.
Myth: According to Title IX, all educational activities and programs must be co-ed and open to both men and women.
Title IX specifically allows for, or has been interpreted to allow for, single-sex programs in a number of categories. Included among those are: religious schools, traditional men’s/women’s colleges, social fraternities/sororities, youth service organizations such as The Boy/Girl Scouts of America, and beauty pageants.
Myth: Gender bias in science, medicine, and engineering is not prohibited by Title IX.
The under-representation of women in science, medicine, and engineering may violate Title IX. Educational institutions are required to provide women in these disciplines resources, support, and promotional opportunities comparable to their male colleagues.
Myth: Advocates for victims of Title IX who file complaints of discrimination for others are not protected from retaliation under Title IX.
The U.S. Supreme Court has broadened the interpretation of Title IX to protect from retaliation whistle-blowers who accuse educational institutions of sex discrimination. The court is of the opinion that reporting incidents of discrimination is integral to Title IX enforcement and would be discouraged if retaliation against those who report it goes unpunished.