Title IX & STEM
Title IX, a part Educational Amendments of 1972, states that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." While this law is best known for its application to sports participation, it is equally as important for opportunities to participate in STEM as well as for pregnancy and parenting protection for graduate students and post-docs.
Title IX & the Baby Bias
Many don’t realize is that Title IX also is supposed to protect against pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. Regarding pregnancy discrimination, universities are in violation of Title IX if they fail to allow pregnant mothers a reasonable period of leave for childbirth, and/or if they fail to guarantee that trainees can return to their former positions as teaching assistants, researchers, or post-docs after maternity leave. The problem is that there is a disconnect between the idealized protections conferred by Title IX and the reality of the situation.
Title IX and Pregnancy Discrimination: Who Knew?
Pregnancy Penalty and the Scientist
Knowing Your Rights for Pregnancy and Parenting in STEM
Title IX Compliance
Title IX protects employees as well as students and is designed to ensure equal access to enable everyone to achieve their full potential. Any institution receiving NIH or NSF grants, for example, is required to comply with the rules of Title IX, though many may not realize that. Title IX is enforced through compliance reviews which can be conducted by institution’s Offices of Equal Opportunity Programs. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) produced a great report on how institutions can perform their own self-evaluation to make sure they are compliant.
NASA Guide for Conducting Title IX Self-Evaluation