Monday, February 2, 2009

Why Wednesday will be important this week

Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day -- from the National Women's Law Center.

"This Wednesday is the 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. NGWSD is marked annually with events around the country and on Capitol Hill to celebrate the athletic achievements of girls and women and to promote the continued expansion of opportunities for girls to play sports and live physically active lives.

"Unfortunately, women and girls continue to face barriers to fair play in the athletics arena, far too often receiving far fewer opportunities to play sports than their male peers and inferior benefits and services when they do play. This year, champion female athletes and young girls will arrive in Washington D.C. to advocate for bills in Congress that address the ongoing inequalities girls face at the high school level by requiring these schools to report information on the gender breakdown of their teams and athletics expenditures.

"One way to shine a spotlight on the problems that women and girls still face in athletics is to require schools to publicly disclose gender equity information about their athletics programs. A federal law requires colleges to make such information publicly available each year, but high schools are not required to disclose these data, making it difficult to ensure fairness in high school athletics programs.

Two bills that were introduced in the last Congress — the High School Athletics Accountability Act and the High School Sports Information Collection Act — will soon be reintroduced. These bills will address widespread inequities by requiring high schools to report information, broken down by gender, on sports participation and expenditures. Much of this information is already collected by schools, and making it publicly available will allow schools, parents, and students to evaluate their athletics programs to make sure that they are treating boys and girls equally.

"Women and girls continue to make tremendous contributions to sports, and they in turn reap great academic, economic, social and health benefits. Yet more than thirty-five years after Title IX was enacted, too many schools still are not providing their female students with equal athletic opportunities."

National Women's Law Center,
11 Dupont Circle NW Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 202.588.5180 202.588.5185 (fax)

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