Editorial Cartoons: Gender Discrimination



Activities meet the following objectives:

  • understand how a cartoon uses words and images to make a political statement
  • learn about gender discrimination and Title IX

This is the eleventh lesson in the series "Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Social Justice."


In 1972, Title IX banned sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. Title IX is best known for its impact on girls’ and women’s athletics. 

Before Title IX became law, few schools offered significant opportunities for girls to participate in sports. That has changed a great deal since 1972. In 2006-2007, 41 percent of high school athletes were girls. In 2005-2006, 42 percent of college athletes were women. [1] These numbers represent a huge improvement from the days before Title IX. Nonetheless, girls make up half the high school and college populations, so equity would require that fully half of high school and college athletes should be female. 

This cartoon focuses on the disparity that still exist between for boys’ and girls’ sports in high school, and the impact of that disparity.


Artist: Jeff Parker. Reprinted with Permission. Teachers may purchase individual cartoons for other lesson plans at PoliticalCartoons.com

This cartoon is particularly rich in visual images and words that the artist has used to make his point. Working with a partner, discuss the following questions.

1. Predict

Start with your overall impression and use it to predict what the cartoon is going to address. When you just glance at the cartoon, what do you see? What do you think the cartoon will be about?

2. Symbols

a. Now look at the images. Sometimes a cartoon uses a person to represent something else. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol that represents freedom; Uncle Sam is a symbol that represents the United States. In this cartoon each person represents a whole group of people. What groups do they represent? How can you tell?

b. What do you notice about the two people in the cartoon? Why do you think they appear this way?

3. Words

a. Read the words in the cartoon. What labels appear on the people’s clothes? What labels appear elsewhere in the cartoon? What do these labels add to your understanding of the cartoon?

b. What does the caption say? What does it add to your understanding?

4. Using Symbols

Working on your own or with a partner, further explore either gender inequalities or discrimination. Then, based on your discoveries, make an editorial cartoon in which one person represents a whole group of people. Post the editorial cartoons around the room.


[1] http://www.titleix.info/10-Key-Areas-of-Title-IX/Athletics.aspx

Extension Activity: 

Research Title IX to find out what it addresses in addition to athletics, as well as the effects it has had. Either write your findings in a report, or share them in a class discussion.