Almost two years ago — in the fall of 2010 — the National Women’s Law Center took their advocacy to the next level. They hear from female students regularly who aren’t getting a fair chance to participate in their high school sports programs, and they decided to do something about it.
They analyzed nationwide data on the percentages of total sports opportunities that schools were providing to girls, the trends in these numbers over the past few years, and girls’ sports that districts were not offering even though they were popular statewide. What they found only made them more concerned. In November 2010, they filed complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against twelve school districts across the country for failing to provide girls with equal opportunities to play sports.
This week, four of their complaints were resolved and the OCR agreed with them. Girls are underrepresented in all four districts’ athletic programs — and the gaps in participation are so large that a total of 6,433 additional opportunities would be needed to level the playing field.
Are you wondering what the picture looks like at your school? They’ve put together a new resource to help you use the same public, school-reported data that they used. Read more about how to determine if your school or district has a participation gap.
If you think there might be a problem at your school, you can dig deeper using their online resource Check It Out or contact your school or district Title IX coordinator. Every school is required to have one.