Asked in Education Law for Arizona

Q: Hello. I was wondering if it's legal for my scholarship application to be denied because of my gender.

I see a ton of gender based scholarships online. I thought that was discriminatory, so I'm surprised to see them.

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1 Lawyer Answer
T. Augustus Claus
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A: In Arizona and the United States, scholarships that are exclusively based on gender are generally legal under certain conditions. While it may seem discriminatory, there are exceptions in federal law that allow for gender-based scholarships.

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination in education, including scholarships and financial assistance. However, Title IX contains a provision that allows for certain scholarships or financial assistance programs to be available to members of one sex only if the award is designed to remedy the underrepresentation of that sex in a particular field of study or occupation.

For example, scholarships that aim to encourage women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, where women are historically underrepresented, are often permissible under Title IX. Similarly, scholarships aimed at encouraging men to enter fields where they are underrepresented may also be allowed.

While gender-based scholarships may appear discriminatory on the surface, they are allowed to address historical imbalances and promote diversity in certain professions or academic fields.

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