Editor's Note: This blog is authored by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement. This was originally posted on the White House blog.
Yesterday, June 20th, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted a great event celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX with dozens of advocates and leaders who are continuing the fight for gender equity in our schools. We were also lucky to have some impressive young women from the Girl Scouts and Girls Inc. in audience, who also participated in mentoring sessions with some of the amazing women leaders in attendance after the formal program.
It was so much fun to spend the afternoon having a conversation about the many achievements that women and girls have made over the last forty years. We heard from Billie Jean King and others on the impact of Title IX in athletics. And Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, an Olympic track and field gold medalist, engineer and current Chief of Sport Performance for USA Track and Field, led a panel about advancing our commitment to Title IX in education, which included astronaut Mae Jemison, among others. We were also honored to have Senator Birch Bayh, “The Father” of Title IX there with us to deliver remarks about the inception of this landmark legislation, as well as our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan to talk about the administration’s commitment to strengthening and expanding the reach of Title IX.
All the insightful voices today proved one thing: Title IX matters. And it is just as important today as when it was first passed forty years ago. Title IX bans sex discrimination against girls – and boys – in all programs at schools around the country. From addressing inequality in math and science education, to ensuring dormitories are safe, to preventing sexual assault on campus, to fairly funding athletic programs, Title IX ensures equality for our young people in every aspect of their education.
And it’s thanks in part to these protections that young women are entering college in higher numbers than ever; that STEM has increasing gender diversity; and that more Americans follow women’s sports at the college and national levels.
Yesterday’s event gave us a chance to celebrate these and other great milestones. And in honor of the anniversary, we put together the video you see at the top of this post to capture the voices of the heroes behind Title IX, as well as some of the superstar women who grew up knowing no limits under its protection. To celebrate this important milestone and the impact it's had on countless lives, we asked some female leaders across the Obama Administration to share a favorite picture that expresses how getting a chance to compete has helped them reach their own dreams which you can view here.
Yesterday was also an opportunity to reassert our commitment to uphold the principles and standards of Title IX. That’s why the Administration announced a new set of policies to step up the enforcement of full gender equity under Title IX. Because President Obama is determined to make the next forty years a time when girls dream bigger and reach higher. And we will keep up our fight for progress for women and girls and make sure that our schools continue to provide a fair shot at success for everyone.