U.S. Women’s Soccer and Title IX

by | Jul 10, 2019


As you are probably aware, on Sunday the US Women’s National Soccer Team won their 4th World Cup (out of the last 8 World Cups). In celebration of that awesome achievement here are some interesting facts related to Title IX, the 1972 law that has played a material role in the U.S.A’s dominance in women’s soccer.

  • According the the NCAA, Title IX was created to prohibit sex discrimination in education programs that receive Federal financial assistance. Nearly every educational institution is a recipient of Federal funds and, thus, is required to comply with Title IX. 
  • Interestingly, Title IX does not explicitly mention sports, but athletic programs are considered education programs and thus colleges and universities had to provide equal opportunities to men and women to participate in collegiate sports and receive scholarships. This has had a huge effect on the women’s sports programs provided by colleges.
  • According to the Tory Burch Foundation, in 1972,  before Title IX passed, just 7% of high school girls participated in sports. Today that number has grown to more than 41%.
  • In 1971 there were only 700 females nationwide participating in high school soccer programs. By 1991 that number had risen to 121,000 and in 2018 girls participating in in high school soccer was nearly 400,000. Source.

Even though huge progress has been made, participation opportunities are not equal:

  • Female high school athletes receive 1.3 million fewer athletic participation opportunities than their male counterparts (3.2 million female vs. 4.5 million male)
  • Female athletes receive 63,000 fewer opportunities at NCAA Institutions (193,000 female vs. 256,000 male).
  • Female college athletes receive $183 million less in NCAA athletic scholarships ($965 million female v. $1.15 billion male).
  • Female high school and college athletes continue to lag behind males in the provision of equitable resources such as equipment, uniforms and facilities. Source.

Title IX applies beyond sports. There has been great gains in academic achievement since 1972 for females – not all attributable to Title IX – but before Title IX, many schools refused to admit women or enforced strict limits. Some statistics highlighting the advancements :

  • In 2010, women received 48.3% of medical degrees, compared with 9% in 1972.
  • In 2009, women earned 46% of law degrees, compared with 7% in 1972.
  • In 2009, 40% of all doctoral degrees to U.S. citizens went to women, up from 25% in 1977. Source.

1 Comment

  1. I am in favor of women’s sports and think robust women’s athletics programs at all levels of education are beneficial.

    That being said, there is a certain intellectual disconnect with those women who say they are the equal of men in all things.

    If we want to test this, eliminate sex discrimination in athletics. Don’t have a men’s soccer and a woman’s soccer team, have one school team that everyone tries out for. See how many who make the team are men, and how many are women. This would save money by reducing teams and allowing all to compete.

    But it would greatly reduce the number of women competing at the school team level, so I don’t really advocate it.


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