Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 144

9 Mental Health Benefits of Title IX for Women on its 50th Anniversary

How does Title IX benefit women?

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

Exactly 50 years ago, on June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed into law Title IX of the Equal Education act. Here is what it said:

“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.”

Note that nothing is said specifically about sports, though the development of women’s sports is what has received the most publicity. Certainly, I would conclude that sports benefit mental health, but also promise possibility and shatter stereotypes. Here’s 9 benefits.

1. Participation in formal sports in schools has enhanced the self-esteem and body image of women, while reducing the perception of physical frailty.

2. Women have been competitive with men in endurance sports and those with specific skills not requiring extreme strength or speed, like fencing and shooting.

3. It eliminated quotas for the admission of women to colleges and universities, including postgraduate education in medicine and psychiatry. For example, from about 10% of all doctorates, women now earn over 50%.

4. It resulted in more women being able to receive tenure.

5. Despite such significant notable examples as the sexual abuse of women gymnasts, it seems to have reduced the proportion of sexual harassment, assault, and ensuing traumatic repercussions of women on campus.

6. It helped equalize financial assistance.

7. It helped to equalize student services and counseling.

8. Its benefits were extended to transgender athletes in 2021, although that has brought up the controversy of the benefits of the remnants of male physical development after physical transition to female athlete.

9. Most recent women business executives were athletes in school.

A current question is which sports, if any, should become integrated? How can this integration include transgender athletes? There is even a relevant question of how to define transgender, on a spectrum of boyness or girlness, or not. Moreover, sports are still dominated by a male model, leadership, and earning power.

From the start, there has been resistance by male administrators, as well as some racism, but ultimately the fairness and equality should also enhance the meaning of accomplishment.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.