Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Title IX and Women Coaches

In SuperFreakonomics, authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner return to examine more surprising phenomenon in their sequel to the bestseller, Freakonomics. They mix in a number of employment (law) related tidbits. I'll pass on the interesting ones via Lawffice Space.

Tonight's surprising tidbit involves a correlation between Title IX and coaches in women's sports. Title IX generally prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational settings, including athletic programs. Levitt and Dubner first acknowledge the positive impact Title IX has had on female athletes but then note that "Title IX also brought some bad news for women."

In short, college women's sports teams were primarily coached by women until Title IX came around. Now women are the minority. The authors opine:
"Title IX boosted the appeal of such jobs: salaries rose and there was more exposure and excitement. Like the lowly peasant food that is 'discovered' by the culinary elite and promptly migrates from roadside shacks into high-end restaurants, these jobs were soon snapped up by a new set of customers: men."
One of the sources they cite is Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal, National Study Twenty Seven Year Update (1977-2004) by Linda Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta. The study found that "When Title IX was enacted in 1972, more than 90% of women's teams were coached by women." In 2004, only "44.1% of the coaches of women's teams [was] female."

Well there's certainly a correlation. But as we all know (or at least should know!), correlation does not equal causation. Levitt and Dubner offer one explanation, specifically that Title IX enhanced women's sports programs which enticed men into the market. More SuperFreakonomics tidbits forthcoming!