Celebration and Struggle: Pregnant and Parenting Teens Honor Title IX Anniversary and Demand Equal Treatment
This week, the ACLU of New Mexico, Young Women United and the Southwest Women’s Law Center brought together Brianna and nearly 50 other young parents and parents-to-be from all over the state at the New Mexico State Capitol. There, they stood up to demand respect, recognition and elimination of educational barriers for pregnant and parenting teens.
40 years ago, Title IX was enacted to ensure that young women and girls would be given equal access to education. Pregnant and parenting teens, however, are a group who are often denied the benefits of Title IX. Only 38 percent of teen mothers nationwide who give birth under the age of 18 earn a high school diploma by age 22. In a state like New Mexico, which has the second highest teen birth rate in the nation, this leaves thousands of young mothers with higher rates of unemployment, lower earning potential and decreased access to health care every year.
But what’s preventing teen parents from graduating?
Pregnant and parenting teens face many barriers to completing their education, including lack of childcare, financial challenges, school attendance policies that penalize teens struggling to take care of their own and their children’s health, and inflexible academic policies that prohibit them from making up missed classwork.