Title IX has been the law for 40 years, but it did not instantly create academic and athletic opportunities for women. Jim Burnside, the girls’ soccer coach at New Trier High School in Winnetka, says it was the mid-1980s before the school started a girls’ soccer program, since which time the progress has been significant.

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“We had good athletes, but they just had no background in soccer,” he said. “And I now have some of my friends, some of my high school friends, show up to games, and they look at me and say I never knew female athletes were this good in high school.”

Title IX was fought by regulators, in Congress, in the courts and by schools on several fronts for 15 years, because providing athletic opportunities for women on a basis equal to men was uncommon and a big change.

Eventually most schools came into compliance by not preventing participation in sports or academics on account of sex.

Today is the statute’s 40th anniversary.

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