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Gender equity legislation introduced on Capitol Hill

By Ted Barrett/CNN

July 14, 1999
Web posted at: 3:01 p.m. EDT (1901 GMT)

WASHINGTON (July 14) -- A bipartisan group of members of Congress said Wednesday they will offer legislative amendments later this year to address so-called "gender equity" issues in elementary and high school education.

The proposals, amendments to a large education bill, will seek to improve computer technology to meet the learning styles of girls, reduce sexual harassment in schools, gather statistics on girls' participation in high school sports and develop ways to help keep pregnant and parenting teens in school.

"Girls, when compared to boys, tend to come to the classroom with less exposure to computers and other technology. They continue to be harmed by sexual harrassment and drop out of school in high numbers when they become parenting teens or pregnant," said Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Michigan).

At a news conference, several lawmakers referred to the members of the U.S. women's World Cup champion soccer team as "Title IX babies," referring to the title number of a federal legislative amendment that, in 1972, prevented "discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." That included college athletics, leading to major gains in funding for women's sports and the subsequent growth of participation in sports by women.

Lawmakers said the success women have achieved on the playing field can be matched in the classroom. The members said particular attention needs to be paid to science, math and computer skills.

"A new gender gap has emerged in technology and this is disturbing and disheartening. If our nation is to continue to be a competitor in the global ecomony we need a healthy pool of technically trained persons ... We can achieve this only if we include both halves of the work force," said Rep. Connie Morella (R-Maryland).

The proposals will come as an amendment to an elementary and secondary education reauthorization bill that will come before Congress later this year.



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Wednesday, July 14, 1999

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