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Girls, Sports, and Equality: A State-by-State Ranking on Title IX

Public high schools across the country are not providing girls with their fair share of spots on sports teams—and today, on the 43rd anniversary of Title IX, we released a new analysis that shows every state is falling short. The analysis features an interactive map and a state-by-state ranking based on the percentage of high schools in each state and the District of Columbia that have large gender equity gaps in sports participation.*

Using the latest Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-2012 school year we find that:

  • Nationally, of the more than 16,000 high schools examined nearly 4,500 schools—28 percent—have large gender equity gaps in sports.
  • In 30 states and the District of Columbia, at least one in five high schools has a large gender equity gap in sports.
  • In six states and the District of Columbia, over half of high schools have large gender equity gaps in sports.
  • Georgia ranks last (51st) in terms of giving girls equal chances to play sports—two-thirds of high schools in the state have large gender equity gaps.
  • Also in the bottom ten are: The District of Columbia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Texas.

 

*The term “large gender equity gap” refers to a gap of 10 percentage points or higher between the percentage of spots on teams allocated to girls and the percentage of female students. For example, if at School A, girls are 45 percent of all students but only get 33 percent of all the spots on teams, then School A has a gender equity gap of 12 percentage points.

Schools with large gender equity gaps are very likely to be in violation of Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. One way that a school can demonstrate compliance with Title IX is to show that the percentage of spots on teams allocated to girls is roughly equal to the percentage of students who are girls. While there is no set gap that constitutes a violation of Title IX, gaps of 10 percentage points or more indicate that schools are likely not complying with the law.