Forty-two years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the Education Amendments of 1972, which has come to be known as Title IX. The amendment did not specifically mention sports, but it’s far-reaching impact is widely credited for opening up opportunities for women in athletics.
Images from: An Act of June 23, 1972, Public Law 92-318, 86 STAT 235, to Amend the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Vocational Educational Act of 1963, the General Education Provisions Act (Creating a National Foundation for Postsecondary Education and a National Institute of Education), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Public Law 874, Eighty-First Congress, and Related Acts, and for Other Purposes, 6/23/1972.
June 23, 1972: Title IX is Signed into Law
On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments into law. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in all education programs or activities which receive federal funding. One of the most notable impacts of Title IX is the implementation of women sports in schools. As a result, there are more women participating in sports than ever before.
In 2002, Title IX was renamed the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, after its co-author, Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii.
Learn more about the impact of Title IX with MAKERS: Women Who Make America.
Photos: Senator Birch Bayh exercises with Title IX athletes at Purdue University, ca. 1972, the late Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Title IX co-author, for whom the law was renamed in 2002.
Shirley Temple — Born on This Day
In addition to the many roles Shirley Temple Black played during her film career she held two during the Ford administration: Ambassador to Ghana, 1974-1976, and Chief of Protocol, 1976-1977.
Here she shakes hands with President Ford after being sworn in as the first female Chief of Protocol on July 20, 1976.
-from the Ford Library
Shirley Temple Black
April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014
Helen Thomas - First Female Member of the White House Press Corps
Veteran journalist Helen Thomas served in the White House press corps under ten presidents, and became the first female member of the group during President Kennedy’s administration. An advocate for women’s rights, Thomas convinced President Kennedy not to attend annual dinners for White House correspondents and photographers if women were not invited.
Pictured: President Kennedy speaks with Thomas in the Rose Garden, April 1963.
-from the JFK Library
Jeanne Holm, Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs
President Ford appointed Jeanne Holm, Major General USAF (Retired), as Special Assistant to the President for Women on March 8, 1976. She succeeded Patricia S. Lindh, who had resigned to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Jeanne Holm enlisted in the armed services during World War II and later became the first woman to attend the Air Command and Staff College. She went on attain the rank of Major General in the Air Force, and at the time of her retirement in June 1975 had the distinction of being the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
As Special Assistant, Holm served as a liaison with women’s organizations and provided the President and White House staff members with advice on legislation, regulations, and executive orders. Her office also developed programs supporting women’s civil rights and encouraged recruitment of women for top-level government positions.
I’m not fancy. I’m what I appear to be.
Today in history, March 11, 1993, Janet Reno was appointed as the first woman Attorney General of the United States by President Clinton. She served from 1993-2001, longer than any other Attorney General in the 20th century.
Today marks the 90th anniversary of the first time the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced in Congress in 1923. Both Gerald and Betty Ford were strong supporters of this constitutional amendment that stated, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
When the ERA was again introduced in the early 1970s, Congressman Ford voted in favor of it. Just over 30 states had ratified the amendment by the time he entered the White House. As President, Ford urged “those States who have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to give serious consideration to its ratification and the upholding of our Nation’s heritage.” He hoped that the requisite goal of ratification by 38 states would be reached in the Bicentennial year of 1976.
First Lady Betty Ford staunchly and vocally supported the ERA. “It is my personal opinion that ratification of the ERA is the single most important step that our nation can take to extend equal opportunity to all Americans,” she said.
Here is one of her statements explaining why she was firmly in favor of this amendment.
I think there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
Madeleine Albright, 2006
On this day in history — December 5, 1996 — Madeleine Albright was nominated for U.S. Secretary of State by President Bill Clinton. She was the first woman to hold the post.