Many women who are doctors and lawyers, and all women soccer players, as well as women in many other fields, can thank Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Virginia Tech will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the law that expanded educational opportunities for women, with a day of activities on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The public is invited to participate in the celebration. Register online.

Known simply as Title IX, the law is best known for its impact in sports. But in fact it was the end of caps on the enrollment of women at many colleges and professional schools, said Peggy Layne, director of AdvanceVT. “Before Title IX, schools at all levels limited the participation of women and girls. Many colleges and professional schools had quotas limiting the number of women who could attend.”

Activities at Virginia Tech begin at noon at the Graduate Life Center with a presentation by Kelly Belanger, associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society at Virginia Tech.

Title IX states: "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." Women athletes were among the first to take advantage of the law, by demanding that institutions’ compliance include providing athletic opportunities proportionate to student enrollment.

At 4 p.m. in 1100 Torgersen Hall, Debra Rolison of the Naval Research Laboratory will discuss Title IX and Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education). As head of the NRL Advanced Electrochemical Materials section, Rolison lectures on the impact of nano(bio)technology on society and the ethical obligations of scientists who perform research in nanoscale science and technology. But she also lectures and writes on issues affecting women in science and in 2000 she proposed using Title IX to evaluate academic science and engineering departments. In 2004, the General Accountability Office primary recommendation to the U.S. Congress directs the agencies that fund scientific research to “take actions to ensure compliance reviews of grantees are conducted as required by Title IX.”

A reception will follow Rolison’s talk at 5:30 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. in 130 Chemistry/Physics Building, there will be a panel discussion on the past, present and future of Title IX. Panelists will be Fatima Goss Graves, senior counsel of the National Women's Law Center, Lauren Kamnik and Sarah Warbelow of the American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund, Rolison, and Belanger.

Event sponsors are AdvanceVT, the Women's Center, and the Women's Studies Program of Virginia Tech. AdvanceVT is a comprehensive program to promote and enhance the careers of women in academic science and engineering at Virginia Tech.

For more information, visit the AdvanceVT website or contact Peggy Layne, AdvanceVT program director, at 540-231-9948 or Anna LoMascolo, associate director for programming at the Women's Center, at 231-7806.


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