Learning from Past Structural Reforms: 45th Anniversary of Title IX

Posted on Blog on June 23, 2017

This Friday, June 23, marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX. This landmark legislation, part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, set out to ensure equal educational opportunities regardless of gender. This allowed for more women to attend college, earn scholarships, study STEM fields, and pursue advanced degrees. Title IX also became the basis for equality in athletics, which has helped increase the number of women who participate in high school sports by 900 percent. Today, Title IX provides protections against campus sexual harassment and assault – another example of its expansive reach. The passage of Title IX meant young women in school could finally participate in sports at the same rate as their male counterparts. Without structural intervention, it could have taken decades or longer for women to reach equal participation organically. Today, the underrepresentation of women in elected office requires the same type of structural reform. Telling women to run for office is not enough alone – just as telling women to play more sports was not enough before 1972. The only way to catalyze progress toward gender parity is through innovative rules changes.

168th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention

Posted on Blog on July 19, 2016

July 19th marks the 168th anniversary of the first day of the Seneca Falls Convention. We often hear about the Founding Fathers of our country, but what about the Founding Mothers in the fight for women’s rights? This is not to say that the fight for women’s rights started with the Seneca Falls Convention. It was, however, one of the first events that jump-started national support for women’s rights in a cohesive manner. This push for a women’s rights convention stemmed from the fight to end slavery. At an Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840, both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were banned from speaking on the floor because they were women. This led the women to realize that as they fought for African-American rights, they could also fight for women’s rights, as both were marginalized groups in a white, patriarchal world. 8 years later, this impetus was realized with the Seneca Falls Convention. The two women, along with Mott’s sister, Martha Coffin Wright, and Jane Hunt and Mary Ann McClintock, sent out an announcement in the Seneca County Courier, the local paper of where Stanton lived. The announcement, inviting women and men to attend, read: