The proportion of black children attending all-black schools in the South falls to 8% from 68% in 1968. By the end of Nixon's first term, Southern school systems lead the nation in desegregation rates. Ninety-one percent of black students in the South attend integrated schools.

On March 22, 1972, Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee sex equality. By early 1973, 30 of the necessary 38 states have endorsed the amendment, but it ultimately fails to win ratification. The next year, the Supreme Court decides Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973) and four justices hold that classifications based on sex should be treated with the same degree of suspicion as those based on race.