"No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid."
Ever since President Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law on June 23, 1972 it has had a far reaching effect on the numbers of women earning postgraduate degrees.
Before Title IX, many schools refused to admit women or enforced strict quotas in postgraduate programs. That was reflected in the fact that in 1972, the year Title IX became law, women only received 9% of the medical degrees awarded, 7% of law degrees and 25% of the US citizens receiving doctorates being women.
By 1994, those numbers increased to 38% of medical degrees, 43% of law degrees and 44% of all doctoral degrees awarded to US citizens were women.
One of the prominent effects of Title IX besides the increase in the percentages of women receiving postgraduate degrees is in the world of sports.
Athletics has also created the most controversy regarding Title IX, but its gains have also been noteworthy.
It's not unusual on any given day to turn on the television and see women's intercollegiate sports on TV. There's infinitely more attention focused on women athletes during the Olympics and on high school level girls sports compared to when I was growing up in the late 70's.
But one thing that bothers me as a sports loving person is the dismissive attitude some women have toward all things athletic. It gets to the point when in some cases, women who love or participate in sports are greeted with less than complimentary verbal epithets or have their femininity questioned.
Last year Seventeen magazine in conjunction with the WNBA partnered for a comprehensive survey that was published in the magazine's September 2008 issue.
WNBA President Donna Orender stated, "We are pleased to partner with Seventeen magazine on this important survey as we know first hand how the role of sports can develop young girls into leaders.
"The women of the WNBA are strong, passionate and determined individuals who exhibit these traits both on and off the court. As a result, we are true believers in the significance of participation in sports for all girls and women."
The Seventeen/WNBA survey revealed that 83% of teen girls play sports with basketball ranked as the number one participatory sport.
Girls play sports for a variety of reasons, but the top reason found in this survey is to exercise (68.4%). Other top reasons included forming friendships, competing and representing their schools.
Challenges that young female sports enthusiasts endure include insecurities; 33% of girls who don't play sports say it's because they're worried that they wouldn't be good at it.
In addition, 35% of girls also say their teams don't get as much equipment or field time as the boys' teams and 35% of girls have heard their peers make homophobic remarks about female athletes.
The Seventeen/WNBA survey also revealed that 66% of teen girls believe that cheerleading is a sport, not some sideline event, and 71% think female cheerleaders should cheer at girls' sports events.
Despite these factors keeping some girls from playing sports, teens today are able to look to inspiring women professional athletes and Olympians such as Lisa Leslie, Mia Hamm, Diana Taurasi, Serena and Venus Williams, Candace Parker and Florence Griffith-Joyner.
As young teens hone their athletic skills, they look upon these women as they endeavor to take women's sports to a whole new level and dismiss outdated stereotypes about the women who play them.
You also have young women such as Brittney Griner who are following in their role models footsteps and preparing to exceed even their lofty performance standards.
But despite the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of sports participation for girls and women, you still have mind-numbing fluff coming from women's magazines such as Cosmo that spout erroneous, outdated stereotypes.
In addition, women athletes in addition to having to battle feminine gender policing also have to contend with the sexist attitudes of male sports fans.
Led by the male dominated sports journalism world, the dismissive attitudes of sports talk radio and sports journalists about the level of play filter down to the potential male fan base and male athletes.
We should insist upon and demand consistent, professional coverage of women's sports from the male dominated sorts journalism culture.
Why am I so adamant about it? Sports teaches important life lessons that non athletes often miss out on. You learn that even if you practice hard and execute your game plan flawlessly, sometimes you come up short. You learn how to work well with others as part of a team. You learn how to lose with grace and win with class.
It's a pride builder when you come from a zero skills base to a higher skills level in your chosen sport and you see it translated into better performance on the field.
It's also a major self esteem boost when you kick the winning goal, get the key hit that wins the game for your team or you dig deep, pull yourself out of a love-40 hole in a critical game in a tennis match and come back to win, or run your personal best time to win a medal.
These are lessons that the male population has had ample opportunities to absorb (and some peeps need to reabsorb) and enjoyed through sports competition. The Women's Sports Foundation seconds my thoughts on the matter as well.
We should not only enthusiastically support the young girls and women in our lives who participate in sports, we should also take it upon ourselves to support women's club, high school, intercollegiate and professional sports as well.
I was a proud Houston Comets season ticket holder back home for several years during their championship run and it was the best money I've ever spent.
I saw the money I spent on my season tickets it as my investment toward keeping the WNBA viable and alive for future generations of sports loving girls. Those young girls who marveled at the play of WNBA pioneers such as Cynthia Cooper are now grown up and getting their opportunity to play in the league.
Even though I'm still pissed about the WNBA leadership not doing enough to give a local group enough time to organize and keep my hometown franchise alive, I still support the league.
Far from being something that women should ignore, sports and participation in them by their daughters should be embraced and encouraged.