Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Title IX

A recent commentary over at Cato demonstrates exactly the twisted nature of discrimination. Title IX, like its racial brother Affirmative Action, creates more discrimination than it stops by its very nature.

For the sake of my argument, I'll define discrimination as any law or rule that disallows some privilege that other can receive simply based on superficial, non-chosen traits like gender, race, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, discrimination acts as a barrier against an individual because of a class they belong to, instead of judging a person based on their personal merits.

Title IX requires both women's and men's sports to develop side by side, and be treated as equal. Women's sports, though, are both less appreciated by fans and women in general. Either because of some social construct or because of some genetic difference, women are less likely than men to participate in organized sports (see the Cato article for more statistics).

By requiring women's sports to develop side-by-side with men's, you restrict, based soly on the superficial class of gender, who can play what where. As example, I submit the rugby and lacrosse teams at the university I attend. There are substantial men's teams for both sports that currently exist as club sports, but their women's counterparts are sorely lacking. It is only this year that women's teams have emerged, and neither women's team has gained much momentum. In both cases the men's team cannot get further funding, they cannot join a division, and they cannot become anymore than an extracurricular club sport, simply because they are men without female counterparts. This is discrimination.

Furthermore, women's sports simply are not appreciated in the same way that men's are. For instance, at the University I attend basketball is our most popular sport and indeed the focal point of our campus culture. Men's basketball games are sold out every home game, and people travel hundreds of miles to attend tournament games. Women's basketball, on the other hand, is lucky to get more than a handful of fans in the stadium and had a record size crowd when the arena was half full. Why should it be the task of the federal government to force women's sports on a population who doesn't even want to watch them?

In short, I come to the same conclusion that Cato does; title IX needs to go. It creates more discrimination than it avoids, and it forces a supply (of women's sports) that consumers don't even want. By subjecting women's sports to the market forces, we'll find that women's sports are left out where they are unwanted, but they will be retained, and more strongly, in places where they are appreciated. Furthermore, with a majority of college students being of the female persuasion, schools will find that if they do discriminate against anyone they will lose attendees, which is something most schools cannot afford. By abolishing title IX, we create a more equal, more free, more tolerant world.

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