Girls’ sports deserve more attention
November 1, 2019
Title IX says, “No person…shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination” in any school–based program. Yet there is still a large gender equality gap in high school sports. While Title IX has helped, evidenced by more than 3 million girls participating in high school sports, the issue is far from gone.
According to National Women’s Law Center, 28 percent of co-ed public high schools have large gender disparities in sports. Nebraska is slightly below the average at a 20.8 percent gap. Additionally, high schools with high concentrations of minorities tend to have higher gender gaps.
Schools that violate Title IX are subject to losing government funding. Nearly 4500 schools in the United States are violating this law, but the federal government has never taken away funding from any of these schools. This lack of action further allows the gender gap to go unnoticed and continue to be an issue.
Although it can be difficult to distinguish between a school purposefully refusing opportunities to girls and a school with a limited need for female sports, most schools with a large gap are purposefully not providing enough opportunities for female athletes.
Limited options for sports may not seem like a significant issue, but research has shown that the effects carry on far into the future lives of these female athletes. Participation in high school sports correlates with academic success and a higher likelihood of earning a college degree.
Studies have found that high school athletes typically have higher GPAs than their non-athlete counterparts. Athletes also tend to excel in core subjects (math, science, social studies, and language arts).
Student athletes learn the valuable lessons of developing time management skills, leadership skills and a healthy mindset. All of these elements are important to have a successful future, whether one is playing a sport or working a job.
Thus, schools are fundamentally disadvantaging females by not providing equal opportunities in athletics. Sports help develop necessary life skills, and females should be prepared for the future just as much as males.
Limiting opportunities for girls in high school can possibly take away their chances of playing professionally or at the college level. It is already difficult to make a living as a female athlete because of the astonishing pay gap, and high schools make it even harder.
Put simply, girls deserve better. In 2019, there is no justification for not supporting female athletes in their hopes and dreams. Progress must be made starting at the high school level. It’s time for change.