About The Project

Title IX and Pregnancy Discrimination

Title IX’s implications for athletics and sexual assault are now widely known, but its maternity leave mandates and prohibition of pregnancy discrimination have largely been overlooked by institutions of higher education.

As universities move towards full compliance and resolve gaps in their policies, students, educators, and administrators need to know their rights and obligations under the law.

What’s at stake?  As of 2014, student parents constituted roughly one-quarter of the undergraduate population overall. Yet data shows that over 80% of undergraduate parents who enroll in four year universities fail to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years. Students with children are less likely to study in the STEM fields. And childbirth is a major reason why young female scientists drop out of the academic pipeline before obtaining their first job—a factor critical in the low representation of women in STEM fields. Ensuring the academy does not discriminate against pregnant and parenting students and postdocs is a key measure in the struggle for women’s equal treatment in higher education and the workforce, particularly in the STEM fields.

In early 2015, Professors Mary Ann Mason (University of California, Berkeley) and Joan C. Williams (University of California, Hastings College of the Law), with support from the National Science Foundation, launched this project to boost the support and protections for pregnant and parenting students and postdocs. By providing resources to educate and empower university communities, this project seeks to ensure the effective implementation of Title IX’s protections for pregnant women and parents and help mend the critical leak in the STEM pipeline.

About the Site

This site provides resources for students, postdocs, faculty, administrators, and others in institutions of higher education, including colleges, community colleges, universities, and similar programs. Those interested in learning more about Title IX pregnancy protection in grade school should review the Department of Education’s Guidance on the topic.

Although the resources on this site have been written and reviewed by legal experts, the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. See our disclaimers and privacy policy for more information. 


Undergraduate Parents

26% of all undergraduate students (4.8 million) are raising children.


Graduate Student Parents

33% of all graduate students are raising children.


Mary Ann Mason

In Memoriam: Professor Mary Ann Mason (1943-2020), as Dean of the Graduate Division, University of California, Berkeley, headed the effort that led, in 2004, to the entire University of California system adopting what was then the most progressive set of family responsive policies in the country. 

Joan C. Williams

Distinguished Professor Joan C. Williams, Hastings Foundation Chair and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law has played a central role in reshaping the debate over women’s advancement for the past quarter-century.

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee, Director of the Pregnant Scholar Initiative and Staff Attorney at the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, leads the Initiative’s work developing and implementing best practices related to pregnancy accommodations and Title IX’s mandate prohibiting sex discrimination in higher education. 

Were you a Pregnant Scholar? We want to hear your story!