Over the weekend, Title IX advocate Bernice Sandler was inducted to the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY, alongside other notable women including Nancy Pelosi, Betty Ford, Kate Millett. Sandler has spent a lifetime challenging sex discrimination in education, inspired by her own experience in 1969 of being told she was not considered for a faculty position because she reportedly came on "too strong for a woman." Sandler realized that an executive order signed by President Johnson in 1968, which barred government contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex, could be used to challenge gender quotas in higher educational admissions and hiring. Sandler and the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL) used that strategy to file complaints with the Department of Labor against hundreds of universities -- an effort that also served to underscore efforts in Congress to codify a ban on sex discrimination into law. Sandler worked with Representative Edith Green, Senator Birch Bayh, and other congressional leaders to add the provision we now call Title IX to an omnibus educational bill that was enacted in 1972 -- a role that earned her the nickname "Godmother of Title IX." She's been a defender of the law and an advocate for its enforcement ever since, and today serves as a senior scholar at the Women's Research and Education Institute in Washington.
Congratulations to Dr. Sandler for this most deserved honor!