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Most people think sports when they think about Title IX. However, Title IX’s scope is much broader than that, and the Energy Department actively works to help ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of gender in educational programs at institutions that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department.

Today, on the 38th anniversary of the creation of Title IX, we wanted to let you know more about the work we do to protect and support Title IX. At the Energy Department, our Office of Economic Impact and Diversity is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with Title IX, investigating Title IX related complaints, and providing technical assistance related to Title IX to recipients of Energy Department financial assistance.

In terms of enforcement, each year the Department is required by the America COMPETES Act to select two recipients of the Department’s financial assistance for additional review. During these Title IX reviews, staff from our Office of Civil Rights meet with students, faculty, recruiters and advisors at institutions, and follow up to help ensure that the recruitment, retention, training and education practices at the school are inclusive for both men and women.

Ensuring equality under Title IX is the law, but it’s also important to closing the gap between the number of men and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields – fields which are critical to securing our clean energy future. That’s why we do reviews, and that’s why the compliance standards for being awarded financial assistance from the Energy Department include things like ensuring that the institution will provide flyers and information about rights under Title IX on their campuses and labs. Anyone can report discrimination to the Department’s Office of Civil Rights, and a confidential and efficient complaint process will take place to investigate.

With Title IX, we strive to eradicate discrimination on the basis of sex throughout all institutions which receive Federal financial assistance. We hope that these efforts will support STEM education, and open up more opportunities in STEM research, work and educational pursuits.