NWLC: Rally for Girls' Sports: She'll Win More Than a Game campaign
RALLY FOR GIRLS’ SPORTS: SHE’LL WIN MORE THAN A GAME
Despite the enormous progress that Title IX has spurred in eliminating blatant discrimination against women and girls in education—including in sports—the playing field is far from level. In particular, high schools across the country are not providing equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports, and some are even cutting athletic opportunities in ways that exacerbate existing gender inequities or create new ones.
High schools that discriminate deny girls the multitude of benefits that accompany athletic participation. By participating in sports, a girl wins more than a game. The benefits are well-documented and include better physical and mental health, more responsible social behavior, and greater academic achievement, including higher graduation rates. Given the fact that sports help girls as well as boys stay engaged in school, it is even more critical to provide athletic opportunities in an equitable manner.
To address the discrimination in athletics that girls still face in high schools nationwide, the National Women’s Law Center (“the Center”) launched the campaign Rally for Girls’ Sports: She’ll Win More Than a Game, which features advocacy and outreach toparents and other adults; a Facebook and Twitter campaign; a national hotline, 1.855.HERGAME (or 1.855.437.4263 ), which concerned individuals can call to reportinequities; and public education, including an educational webinar to help schoolofficials, parents and advocates learn about Title IX’s requirements. The campaign alsoincludes the filing of administrative complaints against twelve school districts across the country for failing to provide girls with equal opportunities to play sports, in violationof Title IX. The selected school districts—one in each region where the Departmentof Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has an enforcement office—are representative of the widespread lack of opportunities that girls still face in schoolsports programs.
Reflecting the breadth and scope of the ongoing discrimination, the school districts that are the subject of the complaints vary in size, locale (urban, rural, suburban), and diversity of the student population, but based on their own data submitted to OCR all are failing to provide high school girls with equal opportunities to play sports, as required by Title IX. The Center’s complaints call on OCR to investigate the high schools in these districts to ensure that girls receive equal access to these valuable educational opportunities. These schools, based on their own data, are examples of a much larger problem. OCR also should examine other schools that are not the subject of these complaints, as should the schools themselves, and take the steps necessary to treat their female students fairly.