Bernice Sandler and Title IX: Sex discrimination then and now

Megan Wilkinson

Bernice Sandler wanted to be a crossing guard when she was a little girl. However, Sandler was never allowed to have this job because of her gender.

“I never told anyone about my aspiration,” Sandler said. “I just knew it wasn’t allowed for girls to have that job. That was just considered normal back then and you didn’t protest it.”

Sandler grew up in an era where there was no such thing as sexual discrimination or harassment. Women only just obtained the right to vote. Gender discrimination occurred more often because nobody questioned it. According to Sandler, nobody questioned why sports were typically for males or why more men attended universities.

Sandler worked with a woman named Edith Green to eliminate some of these discriminations, particularly those in the classroom setting. Green founded Title IX with Sandler’s assistance in 1972. Sandler is known as the ‘Godmother’ of Title IX.

Sandler will be addressing problems that still exist today with sexual discrimination from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Kiva. She said she will discuss how women have made progress in athletics, in academia and will also touch on how America still has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality.

Although women today are much more involved in the work force, there are very few women with high positions, Sandler said. According to Sandler, there are still salary gaps between men and women with all occupations.

“It’s a chilly climate for women,” Sandler said. “Women are still treated differently in subtle ways that we normally don’t notice.”

However, she said she believes that Title IX has made a huge difference in women’s equality the past 38 years and that Title IX is the most influential women’s rights law since women obtained the right to vote.

Sandler said because of this law, more women are given opportunities to advance in their education and participate in extracurricular sports.

“Many colleges have women’s studies subjects and women’s centers today because of Title IX,” Sandler said. “It really made women officially become a part of schools and universities.”

You can contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].