In recent decades, education institutions have looked for ways to provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities. Education is one of the areas where advocates believe inequalities are best targeted, addressed, and reduced. Watch this brief video, Education Eliminates the Gap Between the “Haves” and “Have-nots” (Links to an external site.), for more information on this.
Many institutions of higher education in particular have used affirmative action policies to address these inequalities. The issue of affirmative action is not without controversy. To explore the arguments for and against affirmative action watch the video Affirmative Action vs. Cultural Diversity (Links to an external site.) and read the Affirmative Action Overview (Links to an external site.) from the National Conference of State Legislators.
Women, in particular, have seen many opportunities open up due to affirmative action policies over the past few decades. Some barriers to the advancement of women, however, remain pervasive. Read the article, Affirmative Action and What it Means for Women (Links to an external site.), for a discussion of the issues. The passage of Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, has been one way that institutions of higher education are held accountable for gender equality. Discrimination under this law can include sexual harassment and sexual violence, discrimination based on pregnancy, as well as failure to provide equal access to all school programs. For a full list of the areas regulated by Title IX see the U.S. Department of Education overview (Links to an external site.).
One of the better-known impacts of Title IX relates to gender equity in athletics. While only 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports before the passage of Title IX the number has increased to almost 1 in 2 girls in high school athletic programs since. Equality between men’s and women’s athletics is not just an issue of fairness and equality. Rather, at the heart of this issue is that academic scholarships are tied to athletic participation at the university level, therefore increased participation of women in college sports means more access to academic scholarships.
- After viewing the required resources for this discussion, please address each of the following questions:
- Summarize the arguments for and against affirmative action.
- What barriers do women continue to face in education and employment? In your informed opinion, do you think affirmative action is a good way to help historically marginalized groups overcome these barriers? Why or why not? Be sure to use evidence from the resources to create an informed opinion.
- Propose at least one other solution to overcoming the barriers women face in education and employment.
- Was Title IX a logical policy response to the problem of gender inequality in education?
- What has the impact of Title IX been on women in the United States? For more information on this aspect, read the transcript from a NPR show, Title IX Turns 40, But Has the Field Leveled? (Links to an external site.)
- Did Title IX impact your life in any way?
- What differences do you think there are between the way girls and young women view sports today compared to 40 years ago? In effect, has the participation in sports changed women and their role in society?
- Other than Title IX, what other social changes have contributed to changes in perception about women? Please provide examples.
Your initial post should be at least 500 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references.