Gender Equity in Sports Study Guide .7


A.  Introduction to Gender Equity


Female athletes have been working for equity in sports for many years.  Before the seventies few women were college athletes.  In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a national interest group composed of universities concerned with collegiate athletics, women made up 15 percent of college athletes in 1972.  Athletic scholarships and funding overwhelmingly favored men’s sports. 


Since the passing of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act the changes have been dramatic.  In the NCAA, women’s participation in sports has increased threefold and according to the U.S. Department of Education, part of the federal bureaucracy in the executive branch, 40 percent of college athletes are now women.


Although women’s participation in college athletics has increased due to Title IX, some believe Title IX is a type of discrimination.  Because Title IX requires institutions to have a percentage of women students similar to the percentage of female athletes in order to receive federal funding, many colleges find that they can comply with Title IX only by cutting men’s sports from the university.  An example of this occurred when Illinois State University had to cut the entire male soccer and wrestling teams in order to remain in compliance.  Colleges having to cut some of their male athletic teams argue that Title IX forces schools to put gender statistics above the welfare of its own male student athletes.


All sports are affected by Title IX and gender equity issues so solutions to improve this problem have been made.  Some suggest is to end sex segregation in athletics altogether.  Having just one football team, one basketball team, one soccer team, would result in the best athletes making the team and would end the sex discrimination in sports.  However, others disagree.


To understand the issue of gender equity in sports the branches of government, levels of government, interest groups, civil liberties, civil rights, affirmative action, and court cases are included in this study guide. 


Below is a list of words that will help you to better understand the politics of gender equity.


Affirmative action

                A policy designed to give special attention to members of some previously disadvantaged group.


Bill of Attainder

A legislative act pronouncing a person guilty of a crime without a trial and subjecting him to capital punishment.


Bill of Rights

                The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.



                In a civil lawsuit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the



Ex post facto law

                Law that punishes persons for acts committed before they were illegal.


Judicial review

The power of the courts to determine whether acts of Congress are in accord with the U.S.

Constitution.  Judicial review was established by John Marshall and his associates in Marbury v.



                An act of Congress which has been signed by the president or passed over his veto.


Limited Government

                A government that provides boundaries for how much the government can interfere with its

citizen’s lives.



                The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.


Pocket Veto

                Occurs when the President refuses to sign a bill during the last ten days Congress is in session. 



                Occurs if the President returns a bill to Congress.


Writ of Habeas Corpus

                A court order allowing a person to appear before a judge to determine whether he is being held



Questions A

A1.  What is the NCAA?

A2.  What is the U.S. Department of Education a part of?

A3.  How do some people suggest ending sex discrimination in sports?

A4.  Does everyone agree to this suggestion?

A5.  Name seven political topics that are helpful in understanding the politics of gender equity.



B.  History of Gender Discrimination


Women in the United States have been fighting for equality in many areas.  Their fight has been going on since the beginning of the United States when the U.S. Constitution was put into effect in 1789.  The Constitution was signed by Federalists George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison.  The signing of the Constitution did not guarantee women many rights including the right to vote.  Women received the right to vote only with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment during Woodrow Wilson’s (D) New Freedom, after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917.


Questions B

B1.  What year was the U.S. Constitution put into effect?

B2.  Did Federalists or Anti-Federalists sign the U.S. Constitution?

B3.  Who signed the Constitution?

B4.  What Amendment gave women the right to vote?

B5.  What year did the U.S. enter World War I?

B6.  Who was President during World War I?

B7.  What was Woodrow Wilson’s slogan?

B8.  What political party did Wilson belong to?


Even with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, women still did not achieve the equality they were seeking.  The Civil Rights Movement, led by Martin Luther King, that began in 1954 when Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) was President, began to encourage women’s demands.  Women wanted equal protection in all areas of life, such as job hiring, pay, affirmative action, and reproductive choice.  Woman made a step towards this goal when the case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion during Richard Nixon’s (R) presidency.  However, not everyone shared the pro-choice opinion with Roe.  Those in interest groups such as Operation Rescue continued to support the pro-life viewpoint.  These discriminations, as well as gender equity in sports, remain issues today.


B9.  What year did the Civil Rights Movement begin?

B10. Who led the Civil Rights Movement?

B11. Who was President when the Civil Rights Movement began?

B12. What case legalized abortion?

B13. Who was President when abortion was legalized?

B14. Name a pro-life interest group opposed to the Roe v. Wade decision.



C.  Lawmaking:  Congress and President


Congress consists of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Together they make up the legislative branch, which makes the laws.  Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits gender discrimination in college athletics, is an example of a law.  The Senate consists of 100 Senators, two from each state, who serve a six-year term.  The House of Representatives has 435 members known as Representatives, Congressmen, Congresswomen, and/or Congresspersons that serve a two-year term.  Congressmen represent their Congressional District (CD), which is determined by a state’s population after they have received a minimum of one representative.  Congress is responsible for proposing bills that may then become laws with or without the signature of the President. 


Questions C

C1.  How many houses are in Congress?

C2.  What are the houses of Congress?

C3.  Congress belongs to which branch of government?

C4.  How long is a Senator’s term?

C5.  Each state has how many Senators?

C6.  Members of the Senate are known as Senators, besides Representatives, name three

        other names for members of the House of Representatives?

C7.  What determines the number of Representatives from each state?

C8.  How long is a Congressman’s term?


Once the President signs a bill it becomes a law; however, if the President returns the bill to Congress, an action known as a veto, Congress still has the power to override the President’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote of both houses. 


Congress cannot override pocket vetoes, which occur when the President refuses to sign a bill during the last ten days Congress is in session.  Title IX, which primarily prohibits gender discrimination in college athletics, is part of the Educational Amendments to the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination by agencies receiving federal grants.  Title IX started off as a bill that was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Richard Nixon before he resigned due to the Watergate Scandal. 


C9.   What does a bill become once the President signs it?

C10. What majority vote is needed in order for Congress to override a veto?

C11. What is the difference between a veto and a pocket veto?

C12. What type of veto can Congress not override?

C13. Who passed the Title IX bill?

C14. Who signed Title IX into law?

C15. Why did Nixon resign?





D.  Interest Groups


An interest group, or pressure group or non-governmental group, is an organization that attempts to influence government actions so that members of the group will benefit.  Interest groups target all branches of government, all levels of government, all major political parties, and public opinion in general.  Interest groups have many purposes, including trying to get laws passed that will benefit their cause.  The American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) are a couple interest groups concerned with gender equity.  The AAUW lobbies and advocates for education and equity, including such issues as sex discrimination, civil rights, reproductive choice, affirmative action, and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is another group that lobbies for similar equity issues.


Questions D

D1.  What is the purpose of an interest group?

D2.  What is another name for an interest group?

D3.  Which levels of government do interest groups target?

D4.  Which branches of government do interest groups target?

D5.  Which political parties do interest groups target?



E.  Three Branches of Government


The government of the United States has three branches.  The branches are the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.  The legislative branch, which includes Congress, the state legislatures, and city councils, is primarily responsible for making laws.  The executive branch includes the President, governors, and mayors and is responsible for putting into order policies or plans according to the U.S. Constitution.  The courts make up the judicial branch and are responsible for interpreting the U.S. Constitution in order to insure that all cases and decisions are made in accordance with the Constitution.  The U.S. Supreme Court has the power of judicial review, which allows them to declare an act passed by Congress unconstitutional. 


Questions E

E1.  How many branches are in the government?

E2.  What are the branches of the government?

E3.  Which branch do the courts belong to?

E4.  What court has the power of judicial review?

E5.  Which branch is the President a part of?

E6.  Which branch is Congress a part of?

E7.  What is the primary responsibility of the legislative branch?


All three branches are involved with gender equity issues.  One year before the Cold War ended in 1989, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act after Ronald Reagan (R) originally vetoed it, which outlawed sex discrimination throughout an entire educational institution if any part of the institution received federal funding.  Another example occurred during George Bush’s (R) presidency when the U.S. Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice William Rehnquist (R), further ruled that victims may be awarded monetary damages in sex discrimination cases. 


E8.  What war ended in 1989?

E9.  Name a President involved with gender equity.

E10. Who is the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court?




F.  Five Levels of Government

There are five levels in the United States government.  The five levels are the federal, state, county, city,

and special district levels.  The latter three are also referred to as the local governments.  All levels are

affected by gender equity laws on issues including sex discrimination, reproductive choice, and Title IX. 


Four years after the end of the Cold War President Bill Clinton (D) sent relief supplies to Bosnia.   In the

following year he extended for five years the authorizations and appropriations for programs under the

Elementary & Secondary Education Act, a bill first passed during the height of the Civil Rights

Movement and Cold War.  Clinton’s extension of the Elementary & Secondary Act authorized grants to

conduct activities at all educational levels as long as in compliance with Title IX. 


Being in compliance requires that an institution show that they have about equal percentage of female

athletes and female undergrads, demonstrate a “history and continuing practice” of increasing the number

of teams and roster spots for women, and demonstrate that the college fully and effectively accommodates

the interests and abilities of women.  In the same year, on the state level, an amendment to the California

Education Code (S. 262) was made.  The Los Angeles Community College District, which includes Los

Angeles Harbor College, is part of the special district level and is also affected by gender equity issues.


Questions F

F1.  How many levels of government are there?

F2.  What are the levels of government?

F3.  What three levels are referred to as the local governments?

F4.  How many levels do gender equity issues affect?

F5.  What law did President Bill Clinton extend after the end of the Cold War?

F6.  What country did Clinton send relief supplies to?

F7.  What level of government is the Los Angeles Community College District a part of?


G.  Civil Liberties and Civil Rights:  Background


One of the basic principles of the Constitution is limited government.  A limited government sets boundaries for how much a government can interfere in the lives of its citizens.  Civil liberties and civil rights, which guarantee a person certain protections that the government cannot interfere with, are an important part of a limited government.  These liberties and rights are stated in three places. 


The first is the Constitution, which guarantees each person a writ of habeas corpus, a court order allowing a person to appear before a judge to determine whether he is being held lawfully.  The Constitution also prohibits ex post facto laws, laws that punish persons for acts committed before they were illegal, and bills of attainder, a legislative act pronouncing a person guilty of a crime without a trial and subjecting him to capital punishment.


The second source of civil liberties and civil rights is in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution.  The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


The third place is in other Amendments, especially the Fourteenth, which states in section one, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


Questions G

G1.  Does the U.S. have a limited government or one that gives all power to the government?

G2.  What two aspects of a limited government guarantee a person certain protections that the government

        cannot interfere with?

G3.  What is a writ of habeas corpus?

G4.  Are ex post facto laws guaranteed or prohibited by the Constitution?

G5.  Are bills of attainder guaranteed or prohibited by the Constitution?

G6.  What document contains the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

G7.  Other than the Bill of Rights, what amendment especially deals with civil liberties and rights?


H.  Civil Liberties and Civil Rights:  Court Cases


There have been many cases throughout the years concerning civil liberties and rights.  One such case is Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954).  This case overturned the previous decision of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), ruling that “separate cannot be equal.”  Brown, the plaintiff, the person filing the complaint, was represented by Thurgood Marshall from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and won the case, which brought about the integration of all schools.  Earl Warren (R) was Chief Justice at that time. 


Questions H

H1.  What was the 1954 case that said “separate cannot be equal?”

H2.  What case was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas?

H3.  Who was the plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas?

H4.  Who was Brown’s lawyer?

H5.  What group did Thurgood Marshall belong to?

H6.  Who was Chief Justice during Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas?


Another case dealing with civil liberties and rights is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978).  This case involved a student who was denied admission to the University of California, Davis, Medical School due to affirmative action, a policy designed to give special attention to disadvantaged groups. Bakke, the student, was granted admission as a result of his case, but affirmative action was also upheld.  This decision is an important one for women since affirmative action has played a huge role in gender equity.


H7.  What case dealt with affirmative action?

H8.  Was Bakke granted or denied admission to UC Davis?

H9.  Did Regents of the University of California v. Bakke get rid of or uphold affirmative action?


During Ronald Reagan’s (R) presidency, the Supreme Court ruled in Grove City v. Bell (1984) that Title IX did not cover entire educational institutions—only those programs directly receiving federal funds.  This meant that other programs, such as athletics, that did not receive federal funds, were free to discriminate on the basis of gender. However, fours years later Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which nullified the effects of the Grove City ruling, outlawing sex discrimination throughout an entire educational institution if any part of the institution received federal funding.  Three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, George Bush sent troops to Somalia while the Supreme Court further ruled that victims may be awarded monetary damages in sex discrimination cases.


H10.  What party did Ronald Reagan belong to?

H11.  What President sent troops to Somalia?

H12.  What country did President George Bush send troops to?

H13.  In what year did the Berlin Wall fall?