Gender Policy Feedback: Perceptions of Sex Equity, Title IX, and Political Mobilization among College Athletes

James N. Druckman*, Jacob E. Rothschild, Elizabeth A. Sharrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Public policies invariably confer or deny benefits to particular citizens. How citizens respond to relevant policies has fundamental implications for democratic responsiveness. We study 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. Using a novel survey of college student-athletes, we find strong support for the spirit of the policy, with the vast majority of respondents reporting the opinion that there “should” be equity. Concurrently, student-athletes also perceive mal-distribution among status quo resources and opportunities and believe that redistribution is needed. Furthermore, they are willing to take political action to improve equality. Consistent with our expectations, these beliefs are particularly salient for women and those who perceive persistent sex discrimination in society. Our results reveal “positive policy feedback” among policy beneficiaries of Title IX who mobilize to seek equity in athletics. The dissatisfaction among policy beneficiaries raises questions about democratic responsiveness (e.g., to whom are policymakers and leaders in college athletics responding?) and highlights the political nature of college athletics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-653
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Title IX
  • gender politics
  • policy feedback
  • public opinion
  • sports politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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