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Elizabeth Sharrow

Associate Professor of Public Policy and History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
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About Elizabeth

Sharrow studies the politics of sex and gender in the United States, and the history and consequences of equity policy. She has several active lines of research, including: 1) work on the history of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the development of sex segregated athletics, 2) work on the politics of fatherhood and its relationship to policy opinions, voting behavior, and elite networks, and 3) work on the politics of sport at both the professional and collegiate levels. As a former NCAA Division I college coach, Sharrow has long been active in women’s sports advocacy organizations.  She served on the board of the Melpomene Institute in St. Paul, MN, and worked as a grant reviewer for the Women’s Sports Foundation.

In the News

Opinion: "Pitting Men’s and Women’s Sports Against Each Other at the U Is Wrong," Elizabeth Sharrow, Star Tribune, December 8, 2020.
Opinion: "Equity During Crisis? Blaming Title IX Won’t Help," Elizabeth Sharrow, The Gender Policy Report, November 16, 2020.
Opinion: "Nearly 50 Years On, Title IX’s Implementation Means That Student Athletes Are Aware of and Want to Tackle Gender Inequalities in Athletic Opportunities," Elizabeth Sharrow (with James N. Druckman and Jacob E. Rothchild), LSE US Centre, May 10, 2019.
Opinion: "Here’s How Female Candidates Can Sway Fathers’ Votes — If Their First Child Is a Daughter," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Jesse Rhodes, Jill Greenlee, and Tatishe M. Nteta), The Washington Post, November 3, 2018.
Opinion: "Yes, Stephen Curry Is Right. Having a Daughter Does Change Men’s Political Outlooks — But Only if She’s Firstborn," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Jesse Rhodes, Tatishe M. Nteta, and Jill Greenlee), The Washington Post, September 14, 2018.
Opinion: "What Would Change Public Opinion on Whether the Redskins' Name is Offensive?," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Tatishe Nteta and Melinda Tarsi), The Washington Post, July 11, 2017.
Opinion: "Papers for the Present: Government Archives and Remembering the Past," Elizabeth Sharrow, Parameters: Social Science Research Council Digital Culture Program, June 21, 2017.
Opinion: "Democrats and Republicans are as Divided about Gender Discrimination as They are about Everything Else," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Michael Heaney), Vox, July 18, 2016.


"Helping to Break the Glass Ceiling? Fathers, First Daughters, and Presidential Vote Choice in 2016 " (with Jesse Rhodes, Jill Greenlee, and Tatishe Nteta). Political Behavior 42, no. 3 (2018): 655-695.

Explores the relationships among gender, fatherhood, and vote choice in the 2016 election.  Asks were men who fathered daughters (or fathered daughters as their first child) more likely to support, and vote for, Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election than were those who fathered sons (or fathered sons as their first child)?

"Public Opinion, Crisis, and Vulnerable Populations: The Case of Title IX and COVID-19" (with James N. Druckman ). Politics and Gender (2020).

Studies attitudes of college student-athletes on gender equity issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related financial challenges impacting college sports.  Finds that male student-athletes and those with sexist attitudes exhibit alarmingly low levels of support for ensuring the maintenance of equality and sexual harassment policy under Title IX during the pandemic. Mentions that the results accentuate the vulnerability of certain populations during crises and the importance of maintaining strong institutional policy support during such times.

"Just Locker Room Talk? Explicit Sexism and the Impact of the Access Hollywood Tape on Electoral Support for Donald Trump in 2016" (with Jesse Rhodes, Jill Greenlee, and Tatishe Nteta). Political Communication (2020).

Studies the impact of the release of the Access Hollywood tape during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Finds consistent evidence that the release of the tape modestly, though significantly, reduced support for Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

"A ‘Bridge to Our Daughters’: Title IX Fathers and Policy Development" in Stating the Family: New Directions in the Study of American Politics, edited by Julie Novkov and Carole Nackenoff ( Lawrence, KS: University Press at Kansas, 2020), 127-163.

Traces the unlikely development of fathers as policy advocates for their daughters in the history of Title IX.

"Family Ties? The Limits of Fathering Daughters on Congressional Behavior" (with Mia Costa, Jill S. Greenlee, Tatishe Nteta, and Jesse H. Rhodes). American Politics Research 47, no. 3 (2019): 471-493.

Examines whether fathering a daughter influences male legislators' (a) roll call and cosponsorship support for women's issues in the 110th to 114th Congresses and (b) cosponsorship of bills introduced by female legislators in the 110th Congress. Finds that once party affiliation is taken into account, having a daughter neither predicts support for women's issues nor cosponsorship of bills sponsored by women. Suggests that there are limits to the direct effects of parenting daughters on men's political behavior, and that scholars should remain attentive to institutional and partisan contexts. 

"Sex Segregation as Policy Problem: A Gendered Policy Paradox" Politics, Groups, and Identities (2019).

Places policy in conversation with scholarly debate over how best to tackle persistent sex and gender inequalities, illustrating that the athletic policy sphere both addresses and reproduces sexist practices. Examines the under-appreciated complexity of sex equity politics and suggests the need to question how well public policy addresses inequalities. Argues that we are losing ground in the struggle to end gendered oppression —despite all that it may appear we have gained— because of Title IX's divergent implementation strategy which integrates women and men in classrooms and segregates them in sports. 

"Gender Policy Feedback: Perceptions of Sex Equity, Title IX, and Political Mobilization among College Athletes" (with James N. Druckman and Jacob E. Rothschild). Political Research Quarterly 71, no. 3 (2018): 642-653.

Studies the beliefs of a core constituency of one of the most celebrated sex non-discrimination policies in U.S. history: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Finds strong support for the spirit of the policy, with the vast majority of respondents reporting the opinion that there "should" be equity. Reveals "positive policy feedback" among policy beneficiaries of Title IX who mobilize to seek equity in athletics. 

"Burying the Hatchet? Elite Influence and White Opinion on the Washington Redskins Controversy" (with Tatishe M. Nteta and Melinda R. Tarsi). Social Science Quarterly 99, no. 2 (2017): 474-489.

Finds that exposure only to a message from Costas on this issue leads respondents to more strongly support a team name change to more clearly view the term "Redskins" as offensive. Aims to (1) further the scholarship on public opinion concerning Native American mascots, (2) suggest the conditions under which the barriers to change in sporting institutions may continue to evolve, and (3) speak to the limits of political elite influence.

"’Female Athlete’ Politic: Title IX and the Naturalization of Sex Difference in Public Policy" Politics, Groups, and Identities 5, no. 1 (2017): 46-66.

Analyzes the policy history of Title IX in the 1970s and shows that sex segregated sports were a political decision, not a natural order.  Argues that Title IX constituted the political identity of the “female athlete,” with complicated results for the politics of sex, race, sexuality, and class.

"Gender Attitudes, Gendered Partisanship: Feminism and Support for Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton among Party Activists" (with Dara Strolovitch, Michael Heaney, Seth Masket, and Joanne Miller). Journal of Women, Politics and Policy 37, no. 4 (2016): 394-416.

Shows divergence in opinions towards feminist issues among party delegates at the 2008 national conventions.