Sexual Discrimination: The United States Supreme Court has upheld the importance of equal
treatment between men and women, under the protection of the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution. Also applicable is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.
Higher public school admission standards, or different test cutoff scores for either sex violate the
Equal Protection Clause. Females may not be denied participation in athletic teams.
Discrimination based on sex can not be justified by reliance on outdated images of women as
delicate creatures needing protection from rough sports. Also, participation in sports is an
educational benefit that should be made available to every student regardless of sex.
When separate but equal athletic teams are available in a public school, the girls cannot force
the school to allow them onto the boy's team. (See O'Connor v Board of Education, 645 F.2d
578, 1981.) Moreover, even girls with unusually advanced athletic abilities are not
constitutionally entitled to be on a boys' team just because their skills far exceed those of the
females on the girls' team. For example, in O'Connor an 11 year old female student wanted to
be on the boy's basketball team because of her superior basketball playing abilities. The court
held that citing the student's sex to keep her on an equivalent girl's team did not violate her
equal protection rights.
Even in high contact sports, such as football, where a team is only offered for one sex (males),
members of both sexes must be allowed to try out for the team. To deny a female a chance to
play football based on her sex alone violates the Equal Protection Clause. So, for example, if a
school does not have specific physical criteria to protect (exclude) small and weak males from
getting injured during contact sports with larger and stronger males, then the school has no
rational basis for attempting to "protect" females by keeping them off contact sport teams.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well
as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title VII prohibits any employer of more than
15 people from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin. This act
serves to protect employee pay, promotion, hiring, firing and work conditions.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome contact of a physical nature that interferes with
one's ability to perform their job. It is also unwelcome contact of a physical nature that
interferes with a student's ability to enjoy an education. Sexual harassment may also be same-
sex sexual harassment. For example, it is same sex harassment when male students call each
other "queer". It is also sexual harassment (and discrimination) when ugly comments are
directed at gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
Two types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo sexual harassment and environmental sexual