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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2023
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Book description

The year 1972 is often hailed as an inflection point in the evolution of women's rights. Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a law that outlawed sex-based discrimination in education. Many Americans celebrate Title IX for having ushered in an era of expanded opportunity for women's athletics; yet fifty years after its passage, sex-based inequalities in college athletics remain the reality. Equality Unfulfilled explains why. The book identifies institutional roadblocks – including sex-based segregation, androcentric organizational cultures, and overbearing market incentives – that undermine efforts to achieve systemic change. Drawing on surveys with student-athletes, athletic administrators, college coaches, members of the public, and fans of college sports, it highlights how institutions shape attitudes toward gender equity policy. It offers novel lessons not only for those interested in college sports but for everyone seeking to understand the barriers that any marginalized group faces in their quest for equality.


‘Why, fifty years after the passage of Title IX, does gender equality remain elusive? Bringing rigorous analyses of multiple sources of original data into conversation with theories of political behavior, organizational culture, and political economy, James Druckman and Elizabeth Sharrow demonstrate persuasively the ways in which institutional factors such as sex segregation, organizational culture, and economic pressure interact with individual attitudes to normalize gendered hierarchies and anti-trans attitudes, suppress potentially powerful coalitions, and ultimately undermine the possibility of gender equality. They also, however, identify levers that provide possibilities for ways forward. The result is a crucial set of insights about both the limitations and possibilities of a key piece of American legislation.’

Dara Strolovitch - Yale University

‘Equality Unfulfilled is an absolutely needed social science intervention into debates about women’s sport. It provides a sobering picture of the stalled progress toward gender equality in US sport. The book offers not only policy ideas but detailed, research-oriented consideration of the obstacles these policies face and how they might be overcome.’

Jeremy Freese - Stanford University

‘Druckman and Sharrow deftly synthesize academic scholarship and real-world examples, shedding light on chasms between policies designed to promote equality and the lingering inequalities people experience within institutions and organizations. Focusing on the context of gender inequality in college sports, these authors highlight social and economic forces that all too often undermine efforts to promote equality, compelling readers to question why things are the way they are and to envision steps toward a more equitable future.’

Linda R. Tropp - University of Massachusetts Amherst

‘In this timely book, Druckman and Sharrow dismantle the cultural mythology that holds Title IX as an unqualified liberal feminist policy success. With impeccable research, theoretical sophistication, cogent analysis, and fluid clarity, they explain why gender equity remains unfulfilled in intercollegiate sport and suggest important possibilities for systemic change.’

Jaime Schultz - Penn State University

‘In Equality Unfulfilled, leading scholars James Druckman and Elizabeth Sharrow provide a comprehensive exploration of Title IX's impact on college sports. This thought-provoking book has broad implications beyond college sports and is an important read for understanding how to design effective policies and institutions that can combat the marginalization of underrepresented groups.’

Joshua Kalla - Yale University

‘Title IX is more than half a century old. While American collegiate women enjoy more opportunities than ever before to be high-level athletes, why isn’t there more equality yet? Druckman and Sharrow explain the stubborn nature of inequality by considering institutions and policy design and by hearing the voices of the people who make up the system: players, coaches, administrators, and fans. This compelling book is a must read for fans of women’s sports but also for anyone who wants to understand how, when, and why equality policies fail to achieve their goals.’

Julie Novkov - University at Albany, SUNY

‘Equality Unfulfilled is an invaluable resource for scholars, educators, policymakers, and anyone passionate about equality, particularly in college athletics. Druckman and Sharrow present a thought-provoking exploration of why Title IX has not realized its promise of removing sex-based inequalities, as well as a critical reflection on how to design policy and institutions to achieve greater equity.’

Cecilia Hyunjung Mo - University of California, Berkely

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  • 1 - Gender Equality in College Athletics
    pp 1-46
  • Assessing Fifty Years of Title IX
  • 2 - Using Survey Data to Study Policy Support
    pp 47-66


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