Less Physical Activity Than Boys

Pennsylvania girls between the ages of 6 and 17 engage in less physical activity than boys.

Playing sports while young makes it more likely that girls will remain active as they age. Unfortunately, girls face barriers to engaging in physical activity, including lack of time, lack of access and opportunity, interpersonal barriers, and psychological barriers. These barriers are reflected in different levels of physical activity for girls and boys. Pennsylvania girls between the ages of 6 and 17 engage in less physical activity than boys. Too many girls are missing out on the benefits of athletic activity. Playing sports helps promote better overall mental health among teenage girls. Regular exercise builds self-confidence, promotes healthy body image, reduces stress, and lowers rates of depression among teenagers. Additionally, girls who participate in sports are less likely to take up smoking, use illicit drugs, or experience unintended pregnancy.


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Women’s Law Project (WLP)

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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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