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On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law prohibits discrimination in the area of employment on the basis sex, religion, and race, etc. Section 703(a)(1), Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 255 (July 2, 1964). The law does not contain any language prohibiting gender discrimination in public education and other programs receiving federal financial assistance. This omission spurred support for the womens right's movement, which experienced a period of stagnation following the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. Suggs, Welsh. A Place on the Team. Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 2005. The 19th Amendment prohibits the states and the federal government from denying American citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex.

The chief architect and sponsor of Title IX was Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana. In a speech given to his fellow senators, Senator Bayh remarked, "We are all familiar with the stereotype of women as pretty things who go to college to find a husband, go on to graduate school because they want a more interesting husband, and finally marry, have children, and never work again. The desire of many schools not to waste a 'man's place' on a woman stems from such stereotyped notions. But the facts absolutely contradict these myths about the 'weaker sex' and it is time to change our operating assumptions." 118 Cong. Record 5804 (1972). On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments into law. In 2002, it was renamed the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act after Congresswoman Patsy Mink, its House co-author and sponsor. Although Title IX is best known for promoting equality in high school and collegiate athletics, the statute makes no explicit mention of sports.