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Northwestern commemorates Title IX anniversary

Events planned to explore its legacy and future and to bring awareness to the issues still impacting high school and college athletics, education and gender equity.
Anucha Browne C85, the New York City native who rewrote Northwestern, Big Ten and NCAA record books during her career, will be among the featured speakers commemorating Title IX.

Fifty years ago today, Congress passed landmark legislation known as Title IX to prohibit sex discrimination in education and level the playing field for women athletes.

Northwestern University will host a series of events and discussions in the fall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, exploring its legacy and future and to bring awareness to the issues still impacting high school and college athletics, education and gender equity.

“Title IX at 50: Past. Present. Future?” will span three days, Oct 27-29, and feature voices from professional sports, business, journalism and academics, as well as a virtual event with former Indiana governor and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, son of the late U.S. senator Birch Bayh, the co-author of Title IX.

“While the 50th anniversary of Title IX is certainly a moment to pause, consider the opportunities it provided for women like me and be so very thankful for the law made possible by Birch Bayh, Edith Green and Patsy Mink, it is also a pivotal time to look forward and consider how the rights granted by Title IX and gender equity itself, are precarious and need guarding,” said event chair Melissa Isaacson, whose life and work were heavily influenced by participating in high school sports in the years following the passage of Title IX.

Isaacson, a veteran sports reporter and assistant professor in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, is leading a committee of Northwestern faculty, staff and alumni who share a similar passion for how vital an opportunity this is to talk about the future of Title IX and gender equity.

Discussions on history, gender equity and outlook

Myth Busting: The True History of Title IX
This panel will explore its origins in 1972, how it evolved to address girls’ and women’s participation in athletics and how it eventually became the primary means of redress for gender-based violence within American universities.

Separate But Unequal: Gender Equity and Collegiate Sports​
Centered around the Women's Sports Foundation's latest report, "50 Years of Title IX: We’re Not Done Yet," a panel featuring Amy Wilson, Ph.D., NCAA's managing director of inclusion and a contributor to the report; Donna Lopiano, Ph.D., president of Sports Management Resources and the former CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation and Janna Blais, Northwestern's deputy director of Athletics and deputy Title IX coordinator, will discuss just how far there is to go.

Coaching Up: The Discouraging Numbers and Future Outlook for Women in Coaching and Athletic Administration
Some of the most successful women coaches in the country are at Northwestern​, and this panel has them discussing the need for mentoring in this industry, how they were guided early in their careers and how to improve the staggeringly low numbers of women currently in power in high school and college sports.

Telling Tales: 50 Years of Life as a Female Student-Athlete
A conversation between former Northwestern athletes spanning the 50 years since the passage of Title IX, examining what the student-athlete experience looked and felt like in the early days, and discussing how much further we still have to go for true equity.