Athletic Opportunities Gap has Widened

At the high school level, the gap in athletic opportunities between boys and girls has widened in recent years.

In the 2009-2010 year, the number of males playing sports in high school reached an all-time high, rising to almost 4.5 million. Meanwhile, the number of girls participating in high school sports has not even reached the level of male sports participation in 1971. As a result of this trend, the disparity between the number of sports participation opportunities available to male and female high school students has not only persisted, but has widened in recent years. In 2002, boys had 1.15 million more opportunities to participate in high school sports than girls. Five years later, the disparity in athletic participation in favor of boys grew to 1.3 million.


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Other Recommendations for Action

For Students:

  • Find out if your school complies with the law.
  • Attend women’s sporting events at your school to support women athletes.
  • Monitor your school’s progress: for colleges obtain annual Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports from the Department of Education website; for secondary schools obtain annual Equity Reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Education website or your own school’s website.

For Others:

  • Demand that schools in your area provide equitable athletics opportunities for young women.
  • File a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against a school that you believe is depriving young women of athletic opportunities.
  • Support local women athletes by attending women’s sporting.
  • Lobby for federal legislation requiring middle and senior high schools to report athletic participation data in the same way colleges do.

For Schools:

  • Audit your school for Title IX compliance.
  • Make gender equity one of the central goals in the athletics department.
  • Encourage student and community support of women’s sporting events.
  • Create a Title IX Equity Committee and include community members.


Author: WVPA

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