DES MOINES, Iowa — Fifty years ago today, President Richard Nixon signed the landmark Title IX bill into place. The bill, approved in 1973, ensured equity between men and women in education.
It applies to athletics, the classroom, financial assistance and more.
Senior Associate Athletic Director at Drake University Megan Franklin said growing up in the early '70s — around the time Title IX was passed — she wasn't fully aware of the challenges women in athletics faced.
"You know, as a child, I was in soccer and I was in basketball and track and field. And so I always had opportunities," Franklin said. "And I never realized, even so close to the passing of Title IX, you know, what work had to be done to provide the opportunity for me to have that I have that."
Franklin said it's important for female athlete's today to know of the extensive work done to ensure their rights.
"Young women, girls, don't really know the history of Title IX because it has been such a fabric of their lives since they were born. And that just goes to show the work of our pioneers. And so I think it is awesome time to educate," Franklin said.
Drake University launched the Elevate Title IX Era, an initiative that "will include educational discussions and events to celebrate milestones, pioneers, and moments throughout the history of Drake women's athletics."
According to the Drake press release, fundraising specifically for Drake women's athletic programs is in the development stages.
Franklin said this era was motivated by the need to educate today's women on the history of their rights in higher education as well as how to advocate for Title IX moving forward.
"We're elevating the stories and the history," Franklin said. "And we also want to elevate the women's sports experience today and in the future."
Drake University has had sports programs for women since 1974, only a year after Congress passed Title IX, and hopes to continue advocating for women in educational spaces far into the future.