The Twelve-Year-Old Girl's Lawsuit that Changed America: The Continuing Impact of NOW v. Little League Baseball, Inc. at 40
20 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 1 (Winter 2012)
University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-17
29 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2013
In 1972, Little League's national office forced 12-year-old Maria Pepe off her Hoboken (N.J.) team because "[g]irls are not eligible." The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights sustained her gender discrimination claim in 1973, and the courts upheld the administrative decision a year later.
National reaction to Maria Pepe's courageous insistence on gender equity helped sustain the evolution in gender roles that had accelerated since the Women's Movement of the 1960s. Her landmark legal action also likely influenced the Supreme Court's gradual movement toward intermediate scrutiny of gender discrimination claims; the 1975 federal regulations that assured Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 a prominent role in elementary, secondary and higher education; and children's socialization concerning gender roles in our society.
Keywords: little league, civil rights, pepe, gender, Title IX, higher education, discrimination
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