June 23, 2012 marked the 40th Anniversary of one of the most significant American civil rights statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. Title IX has had such an impact on the lives of women and girls, and has worked its way into the popular culture to such an extent, that every major anniversary of the statute prompts a plethora of celebrations by journalists and pundits. These tributes to Title IX wax fondly about the changes in American life that the law has produced, but are tempered by lamentations by some about the continuing gender gaps that still exist, reflecting the distance yet to go—and by lamentations from others about the statute’s supposed harmful impact on men’s sports. Thus, Title IX anniversaries feel like Bill Murray’s character’s experience in the movie “Groundhog Day,” of waking up to the very same day, repeated over and over.
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