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Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow Elizabeth (Libby) Sharrow

Associate Professor of History and Public Policy | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Libby Sharrow examines the ways public policy has shaped understandings of gender, race, sexuality, disability and class in U.S. politics.

Expertise (7)

History of Title IX

Politics of Sport

Transgender Athletes

Politics of Sex and Gender

Public Policy and Disability

Title IX and Sports

Title IX


Libby Sharrow has brought questions of how public policy has shaped understandings of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and class to national media, including the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and New York Times.

With particular interest in the history of Title IX, Sharrow's book "Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports" examines how, fifty years after its passage, sex-based inequalities in college athletics remain the reality.

Social Media






An Evening with Elizabeth Sharrow, PhD


Education (4)

University of Minnesota: Ph.D., Political Science

with a minor program in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies

University of Minnesota: M.A., Political Science

University of Minnesota: M.P.P., Gender, Law and Sport Policy

University of Minnesota: B.A., Political Science

Select Media Coverage (7)

Biden Plan Allows Limits on Trans Athletes’ Participation in School Sports

The New York Times  online


Those laws would not be immediately undone by the Biden administration rule, said Dr. Elizabeth Sharrow, who anticipated a new host of legal battles over the interpretation of the rule, as well as new legislation that might seek to “skirt through whatever space the regulation carves out for exclusion.”

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Fifty Years On, Title IX’s Legacy Includes Its Durability

The New York Times  print


Elizabeth Sharrow says the Equal Rights Amendment, Roe v. Wade and Title IX are all linked by their attempts to target gendered inequality in American society, but they differ in how they used law and policy to enact change.

title ix

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Title IX Built Women’s Sports. Now, It’s Time for it to Change.

Mother Jones  online


Elizabeth Sharrow says “There were debates and tension around the question of segregating women’s athletics from the start of Title IX, yet because policymakers settled on separate, sex-segregated sports, we have actually forgotten that history and have imagined that the solution of segregation has managed to solve all of those problems of exclusion."

title ix

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Title IX at 50: An Incomplete Revolution In Women’s Sports

Diane Rehm Show  radio


Elizabeth Sharrow appeared on the Diane Rehm podcast to discuss the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX that prohibits gender-based exclusion in education.

title ix

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Glamour  online


Commenting about new laws requiring physical examinations to confirm gender in girls competing in athletics, Elizabeth Sharrow says, “We should be extremely skeptical and concerned about the notion that any athletes have to testify with their bodies in those ways in order for sports to be kept as a competitively ‘fair’ space.”

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The Next Cultural Battle: States Take Aim at Trans Athletes

Sports Illustrated  online


Elizabeth Sharrow is quoted in an article that looks at efforts by state governments across the country to ban transgender girls and women from participating in scholastic and collegiate sports with cisgender athletes.

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A.O.C. and the Daughter Defense

The New York Times  print


In a study called “The First-Daughter Effect,” Elizabeth Sharrow and colleagues determined that fathering daughters — and firstborn daughters, in particular — indeed played a role in making men’s attitudes toward gender equality more progressive, particularly when it came to policies like equal pay or sexual harassment protocols.

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Select Publications (8)

Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports (Book)

Cambridge University Press

James N. Druckman and Elizabeth A. Sharrow


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.

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Title IX’s interpretation has reshaped athletics in good and bad ways

The Washington Post

Elizabeth A. Sharrow


Elizabeth Sharrow writes about how Title IX has reshaped athletics in positive and negative ways in the 50 years since it was enacted. “Since 1972, women’s intercollegiate athletic participation has expanded roughly 12-fold, with the formation of thousands of teams for girls and women,” she says.

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Texas isn’t the only state denying essential medical care to trans youths. Here’s what’s going on.

The Washington Post

Elizabeth Sharrow and Isaac Sederbaum


Elizabeth Sharrow writes about how conservatives are increasingly imposing government control over sexuality and gender, citing the fact that more than a dozen state legislatures are considering legislation that would ban access to medical treatments for trans youths.

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States are still trying to ban trans youths from sports. Here’s what you need to know.

The Washington Post

Elizabeth Sharrow, Jaime Schultz, Lindsay Parks Pieper, Anna Baeth and Anne Lieberman


Elizabeth Sharrow examines efforts by state governments across the country to ban transgender youths from participating in scholastic sports with cisgender athletes.

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How high school sports became the latest battleground over transgender rights

The Conversation

Elizabeth A. Sharrow


Elizabeth Sharrow writes about the challenges facing high school transgender athletes and how high school sports have become the latest battleground over transgender rights.

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Virginia Democrats’ political problems show us why intersectionality is so important

The Washington Post

Nadia E. Brown, Melissa R. Michelson, Libby Sharrow and Dara Strolovitch


"Characterizations of the problems facing Virginia Democrats as forcing them to choose between supporting women and supporting African Americans promote a misleading narrative about the politics of race and gender. This narrative misunderstands feminist and anti-racist politics and denies the humanity of black women...."

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Here’s how female candidates can sway fathers’ votes — if their first child is a daughter

The Washington Post

Elizabeth A. Sharrow, Jill Greenlee, Jesse H. Rhodes and Tatishe M. Nteta


"In the 2018 midterm election campaign, many female gubernatorial candidates have argued that their campaigns would be good for young women and girls in their states. In Idaho, for example, where Paulette Jordan and Kristin Collum are running for governor and lieutenant governor respectively, Collum declared, “Whether or not I win . . . I’ve given [young women] a role model. They can do this, too, and they should not let anything stop them."

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What would change public opinion on whether the Redskins’ name is offensive?

The Washington Post

Elizabeth A. Sharrow, Tatishe M. Nteta and Melinda R. Tarsi


Three weeks ago, the Supreme Court decided unanimously in Matal v. Tam to protect Americans’ ability to trademark names that may be considered offensive. In response, Daniel Snyder, longtime owner of the Washington Redskins football team, declared, “I am THRILLED. Hail to the Redskins!” Not everyone was equally thrilled.

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