CATO Institute: 40 Years of Title IX
In light of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the CATO Institute convened a panel discussion on the successes, setbacks, and most importantly the future of the policy. The event brought together a range of perspectives and expertise in a heated, informative debate.
Opponents of Title IX raised questions of its limitations and problems in its application. Sabrina Schaeffer, director of the Independent Women’s Forum, noted a tendency in Title IX policy to lean toward gender preference and parity as opposed to its original goal of gender equality. She cited recent examples of various universities cutting men’s teams in order to create space for women’s teams, which has resulted in an unfair imbalance. In response to these concerns, proponents such as Public Justice Attorney Adele Kimmel placed the blame on the institutions rather than the policy. Debunking the common myth that Title IX imposes quotas, Kimmel explained that the 3-part test of compliance recognizes substantial proportionality, history and continuing practice of expansion, or accommodation of interests and abilities. Schools are not limited to the first option. In fact, many universities that cut certain male sports teams do so in order to sustain their bloated budgets dedicated to such sports as football and basketball.
The discussion then shifted from policy to culture. Panelists grappled with the question of whether Title IX represents an overemphasis on regulatory compliance rather than dealing with situations of demonstrable discrimination. Is Title IX inherently flawed because women have different preferences than men? Neal McCluskey held culture responsible for self-selection into gender roles, claiming that this fact did not prove an underlying discrimination. Dr. Debra Rolison, however, used examples from STEM fields to highlight that the main stumbling block to full inclusion is almost always impeachable tradition. Indeed, an implicit bias tends to dominate departmental and scientific culture, and policies such as Title IX are essential in providing equal opportunities and creating a comprehensive change in patriarchal climates.
For more information on this discussion, visit the CATO website at: http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=9161