In 1969 Bernice Sandler was finishing her doctorate in Education at the University of Maryland, teaching part-time at the university, and trying to secure a full-time position. Despite her excellent credentials, it became clear she wasn’t even being considered. But why? she wondered.
“Let’s face it,” a male colleague said, “you come on too strong for a woman.”
Those fateful words brought sex discrimination home for Sandler. Facing it herself, front and center in her own workplace, meant she could no longer be ambivalent about women’s rights. She could no longer buy the media coverage of feminists as “man-hating,” “abrasive,” and “unfeminine.” But what could she do? Sandler soon discovered that none of the obvious laws prohibiting discrimination covered sex discrimination in education. Sandler’s work led to the passage of Title IX—making it illegal, once and for all, for a federally funded institution to discriminate against someone based on their sex, including in education. This had a profound effect for women in the workplace, in school, and in sports.
Bernice Sandler and the Fight for Title IX drives home the message that it doesn’t take a person with power to make a difference. More often, it takes determination. When confronted with injustice, regular people can effect change. Also includes extensive backmatter about How To Be an Activist written by Know Your IX, a survivor- and youth-led project of Advocates for Youth that aims to empower students to end sexual and dating violence in their schools.