June 23, 1972, was an extremely eventful day in the presidency of Richard Nixon. On the minus side, that was the day the infamous “smoking gun” tape was recorded that led to Nixon’s ejection from the White House two years later. On the plus side, that was the day Nixon signed Title IX into law. Designed broadly to increase educational opportunities for women by prohibiting gender-based discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding, it has helped boost the participation of girls and women in sports and academia. When Title IX received Nixon’s signature, only about 300,000 girls participated in high school sports. Today, that number stands at more than 3 million. Also, a half-century ago, women received just 10% of all doctoral degrees. Today, 54% of those receiving doctorates are women. Title IX was meant to open doors and break down barriers, and it has done its job extraordinarily well.

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