Gender Bias

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Gender bias refers to a person receiving different treatment based on the person’s real or perceived gender identity. Under California Family Code § 3011, a court should not consider the gender identity or gender expression of a parent, legal guardian, or relative in determining the best interests of a child when ruling on child custody. In Sahm v. Miami University, “gender bias” is used synonymously with “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Sahm explains that a plaintiff can prove gender bias against a defendant under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in situations relating to education programs and activities that receive federal funding. 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) further solidifies this concept by explicitly stating that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex . . .” be discriminated against “under any education program or activity” that receives federal funds. Additionally, a judge cannot be biased based on gender. As mentioned in § 3.04 of Judicial Conduct and Ethics, Fifth Edition, Rule 2.3(B) of the 1990 Model Code of Judicial Conduct expressly prohibits a judge from being biased or prejudiced, or from harassing an individual based on the individual’s gender.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]