Women's Law Project Examines Title IX in Pennsylvania
Colleges and universities in Pennsylvania are failing to provide adequate athletic opportunities for women students, according to a recent report from the Pennsylvania-based Women's Law Project (WLP). The report studied 112 schools in Pennsylvania for three years, and found that while women were over 53 percent of the student body, they received only 43 percent of athletic opportunities, thus failing the proportionality test of Title IX, the 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs, including athletics. The report did not examine the two other criteria by which schools can comply with Title IX athletics requirements.
There were also gender disparities in funding, as women’s athletics received an average of 60 cents for every dollar spent on men’s athletics. The institutions with the best record on equitable athletic opportunities were those in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division 1 that did not offer football.
The report recommended that schools make gender equity a central goal of their athletics departments, and draw on the successes of schools with more equitable opportunities and funding. “It’s very simple: schools committed to their female athletes can be fair and nondiscriminatory if they choose to do so; schools that point to football as a scapegoat are just making excuses for their choice to discriminate,” said David S. Cohen, staff attorney at WLP and author of the report