Gender Equality
Today, the U.S. is ranked 19 out of 134 countries in terms of gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Part of the progress of the U.S. in this area is attributable to legislative activity at the federal level to ban gender-based discrimination, which has led the way for states to adopt their own similar measures. The federal government’s authority to enact anti-discrimination laws stems from the authority granted by the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment, or a combination thereof (see Introduction to the Federal System, above). 
 
As described below, federal laws prohibit gender discrimination in a number of settings, including employment, housing, and education.
 
·   Title VII: (Equal Employment Opportunities of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964):  Title VII prohibits discrimination in the workplace on a variety of bases, including gender. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) to enforce these provisions. Title VII was originally enacted to combat racism in the workplace, with the proscription against gender discrimination added at the last minute. However, Title VII has since become the basis for many gender-based discrimination suits, as well as the model for analogous state legislation.
 
·   The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA):  The ECOA prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on a variety of bases, including gender and marital status. When considering whether to extend credit, a creditor may neither discourage an applicant from applying for credit based on gender nor consider gender as a factor in extending credit. Furthermore, a creditor is explicitly prohibited from considering other gender-correlated factors to the disadvantage of female applicants, such as discounting a woman’s income based on an assumption that women of child-bearing age will stop working.
 
·    Fair Housing Act (FHA):  The FHA prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing on a variety of bases, including gender and marital status. For example, a landlord or bank cannot have different income prerequisites for renting or extending financing for housing to women. The FHA also prohibits sexual harassment in the housing context, such as when a landlord creates a hostile environment for tenants based on gender. These laws govern all housing, with three exceptions:  (1) housing in which the landlord also lives and rents out only one room; (2) housing where the renters share a living space with the landlord; and (3) single-sex dormitories at educational institutions.
 
·    Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA):  The EPA requires employers to pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of whether the employees are male or female. “Equal work” does not require that the jobs be entirely identical, but they must be “substantially” equal. The EPA covers all forms of “pay” including salaries, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, insurance, vacation pay, and other benefits.
 
·    Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):  The FMLA gives employees the right to take time off from work in order to care for a newborn or recently adopted child, or to look after an ill family member.
 
·    Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA): The PDA prohibits employment discrimination against female workers who are (or intend to become) pregnant. Thus, employers may not decide against hiring female workers just because they are, or may
 
·   Title IX (from the Education Amendments of 1972): Title IX prohibits gender-based discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds, so as to increase educational and athletic opportunities for females in schools and colleges nationwide. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against any person who testifies or files a complaint against any institution for failing to comply with Title IX. These provisions are enforced by Offices for Civil Rights that have been established throughout the U.S.