On June 9, 2022, Equal Rights Advocates honored Kristen Galles with the 2022 Ramey Gender Justice Award, reserved for those serving ERA’s mission with the highest distinction. The award was made at ERA’s annual gala, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibiting discrimination in educational programs receiving federal funds.
Through her firm Equity Legal, the American Bar Association, and partnerships with advocates across the country, Kristen has been a stand-out advocate of Title IX in schools and gender justice throughout the legal profession.
Kristen has led and supported groundbreaking Title IX cases helping thousands of students deserving of equal treatment and opportunity in the classroom and playing fields over the last twenty-five years. She is admitted to the state bars of California, Virginia, Nebraska and the District of Columbia, as well as the federal bars of many United States District Courts, United States Bankruptcy Courts, United States Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. She has successfully argued and/or briefed Title IX cases in the Second, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. She has led the development of Title IX case precedent, including its use to challenge retaliation against student complainants. Kristen was also pivotal in case development confirming that athletic associations are subject to Title IX, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and various state laws.
In bestowing the Award, ERA thanks Kristen for her mentorship and partnership in its legal cases. In 2005, ERA and The Sturdevant Law Firm joined Kristen in two related cases challenging sex discrimination in athletics at University of California at Davis after they removed female student-athletes from its wrestling program. Mansourian v. Regents of the University of California resulted in a trial win finding that the University violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by not sufficiently expanding intercollegiate athletic opportunities for female students at UC Davis when plaintiffs were in attendance. The case also yielded an important decision at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejecting notice requirements in cases in which schools decide to afford women fewer sports opportunities. The legal team also filed and settled a related class action, Brust v. Regents of the University of California, that resulted in the addition of a women’s field hockey team and the development of dozens of other sports opportunities for women. Both cases were supported by the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund.
ERA also recognizes Kristen’s tireless passion and commitment to advancing equality in the law. In her capacity as co-chair of the American Bar Association Individual Rights Section committee on the rights of women, Kristen also conducted Title IX continuing legal education programs, promoted the passage of ABA policy, co-wrote the ABA’s Supreme Court amicus brief in Jackson vs. Birmingham, Alabama Board of Education, and wrote the ABA’s official commentary on the final report issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s 2002-2003 Title IX Commission.
ERA hails Kristen’s extraordinary mentorship of a generation of Title IX and other legal advocates. Kristen co-founded a nationwide roundtable of Title IX plaintiff attorneys to meet regularly to share knowledge and strategies about Title IX theory, policy, and advocacy. Kristen also serves or has served as an advisor to many legal and community organizations, including the AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund, the Bar Association of San Francisco, YWCA of San Francisco, San Mateo, & Marin, and the San Francisco Women Lawyers’ Alliance.
Kristen is a summa cum laude graduate of Creighton University and an honors graduate of Washington University School of Law (St. Louis). A congratulatory video compilation shows the impact and reach Kristen Galles has had over the course of her monumental career. Click here to view.
The Ramey Gender Justice Award honors those serving the mission of Equal Rights Advocates to advance gender justice at work and in schools with the highest commitment. It is named in honor of true inspirations in the gender justice movement – Dr. Estelle Ramey and her daughter Drucilla Stender Ramey.