Girls and women's educational and sports opportunities have improved dramatically since it became law in 1972.
Unfortunately there is still work to be done.

An article in today's Montana Standard describes the situation in Butte, where federal officials are investigating the complaints of two former girls softball coaches that the public high school has substandard softball fields for female athletes.

The coaches say the community fields where Butte girls play have poor drainage and hard surfaces, and lack adequate toilets and a scoreboard. They want the district to build its own fields on district-owned property. The school district has 16 days to respond to the complaint.

The ACLU of Montana is not involved in this case, but we have used Title IX in years past to help a girl seeking the opportunity to wrestle and in the 1980s to fight for equality in scheduling of girls high school sports.

Title IX is in place to ensure that female students are not treated as second-class citizens relegated to second-class athletic opportunities. Unfortunately too many school districts, colleges and universities ignore it.

In 2010, the National Women's Law Center filed complaints with the federal Education Department Office for Civil Rights against 12 school districts for failing to provide equal opportunities for female high school students.

And this year an over $1 million settlement was paid to former University of California, Davis, female student-athletes after a federal district court found the university liable for violating Title IX for not expanding athletic opportunities for women after they cut the women's wrestling team.

We're thankful for Title IX and all its done to improve opportunities for female students.