As the old adage goes, you can’t solve a problem unless you’re able to define it.
We know that girls who play sports reap benefits both on and off the field. But we also know that girls across the country are still not getting equal opportunities to play sports or equal treatment when they do play. To make matters worse, when parents and students try to find out how their schools are allocating valuable athletic opportunities and resources, they are not able to get information.
High schools, like colleges, should be required to make information about their sports programs publicly available. Please ask your Members of Congress to support the High School Athletics Accountability Act, H.R. 458, and the High School Data Transparency Act, S. 1269. These two bills would require high schools to report information, broken down by gender, on sports participation and expenditures. Schools are already collecting this information, but since it is not public, parents and students cannot evaluate their athletics programs to make sure that girls are being treated fairly.
When girls play sports, they have a decreased chance of developing heart disease, obesity, and other health-related problems. They also are more self-confident, are more likely to stay in school, and have better academic and employment outcomes. Girls who play sports are also more likely to delay teen sexual activity and pregnancy and to abstain from smoking or using drugs.
On February 1st, we will be visiting offices on Capitol Hill as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day to discuss the need for transparency in our schools. But you can help get the message across from wherever you are: Tell Congress that girls and women deserve equal opportunities to be physically active and that communities deserve access to gender equity information about their schools’ sports programs.
Thank you for your support!