Sharrow

Elizabeth Sharrow

Assistant Professor of Political Science and History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Areas of Expertise:
  • School Reform
  • LGBT
  • Women

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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

"What Would Change Public Opinion on Whether the Redskins' Name is Offensive?," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Tatishe Nteta and Melinda Tarsi), Monkey Cage Blog, The Washington Post, July 11, 2017.
"Papers for the Present: Government Archives and Remembering the Past," Elizabeth Sharrow, Parameters: Social Science Research Council Digital Culture Program, June 21, 2017.
"Democrats and Republicans are as Divided about Gender Discrimination as They are about Everything Else," Elizabeth Sharrow (with Michael Heaney), Mischiefs of Faction, Vox, July 18, 2016.

Publications

"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 (University Press at Kansas, expected spring 2020).

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. 

"Helping to Break the Glass Ceiling? Fathers, First Daughters, and Presidential Vote Choice in 2016" (with Jill S. Greenlee, Tatishe M. Nteta, and Jesse H. Rhodes). Political Behavior (2018): 1-41.

Finds that fathers who have daughters as their first child are more likely to prefer and vote for Clinton, and are more likely to support a fictional female congressional candidate using a "Clintonesque" appeal that emphasizes expanding opportunities for "our daughters." Suggests that entry into fatherhood with a daughter (as opposed to with a son) is a formative experience for men that has consequences for their political choices in later life. 

"The First-Daughter Effect: The Impact of Fathering Daughters on Men's Preferences for Gender-Equality Policies" (with Jesse H. Rhodes, Tatishe M. Nteta, and Jill S. Greenlee). Public Opinion Quarterly 82, no. 3 (2018): 493-523.

Examines three theoretically motivated propositions: first, that having a daughter leads men to see the benefits of and support public policies that aim to reduce gender inequality; second, that fathers with a larger proportion of daughters express stronger support for these policies; and finally, that having a daughter as a man's first child is a critical event in the political socialization of men, such that this experience of "first-daughterhood" will lead to higher levels of support for gender-equality policies. Suggests that the experience of having a daughter as a first child —but not the effect of having a daughter in general nor the experience of fathering a higher proportion of daughters— significantly increases fathers' support for policies designed to increase gender equality. 

"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. 

"The First Daughter Effect: The Impact of Fathering First Daughters on Men’s Preferences on Gender Equality Issues," (with Jill Greenlee, Tatishe Nteta, and Jesse Rhodes), European Conference on Politics and Gender, June 2017.

Explores the relationship between fathering daughters and men’s opinions on sex equity policies. It is the first in a line of papers about fatherhood and politics.

"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 37, no. 4 (2016): 394-416.

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