This past month alone, school teams have been forfeiting instead of playing with girls. Girls in sports should be treated equally to boys. Here’s how we girls can fight for equality.
Sisters Colette and Alyssa Hocking play for the boys’ soccer team at Foothills Academy College Prep in Arizona. Foothills was told that the opposing team, Our Lady of Sorrows, would not take the field unless the girls were benched. They benched the girls, and lost the game.
Two weeks later, another school, Faith Christian School, said the same thing. This time, the team stuck together and said they would not bench the girls. Faith Christian forfeited because of it.
At Summit School in North Carolina, 7th grader Charlotte Albright is the starting kicker. Her coach was told by North Raleigh Christian Academy that it would be a forfeit if she played, so she was benched by her team.
Unfair, right? Read on to learn how to create change!
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?!
Most girls shouldn’t have to worry about not being treated equally in sports or academics due to Title IX.
Title IX was passed in 1972. It states that girls will have equal opportunities in both academics and sports for any school that receives money from the US government. So, if there’s no girls soccer team, girls have the right to play on the boys’ team. If there is a girls’ team, they should have the same funding…equal money for uniforms, training, etc.
Sounds good, right?? But…estimates are that 80 – 90% of schools do not follow Title IX, and no one ever calls them out on it. I did a survey and only 15 out of 36 sixth graders in my class said they have not been discriminated against by gender or race in sports. That means 58% may have been discriminated against! Not okay.
Also, private schools that do not receive money from the government do not have to follow Title IX and can openly discriminate against girls.
WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO?
Most students I interviewed said the best thing to do was stand up to the discriminator or tell a trusted adult. Here are some other ideas too.
If you’re a girl and play for a public, charter, or magnet school:
If you see any inequalities, feel free to call them out and mention Title IX (nine). Tell your principal or athletic director. Inequalities may be as simple as being scheduled only for Thursday night games while the boys’ teams get all Friday night games. Or, it can be more direct, such as no opportunity for girls to play at all, poor equipment, or not as much practice time as the boys.
If you’re a girl and play for a private school:
Talk to your principal/headmaster about concerns. Sometimes putting it in writing will help you get all of your thoughts across. If your school treats girls equally but opposing schools do not, talk to your coach and teammates about making a stand, not just for your team, but for girls everywhere. Start a petition, have students sign it, and send it to your league.
If you’re a boy:
Support girls’ sports. Let administration at your school and other schools know that you think girls’ sports are just as important as boys’ sports. Tell your friends to do the same. Your voice is important too.
If none of that works, take the next step:
- Visit Women in Sports to learn about the rights you should expect as a girl in sports.
- If there is a Title IX infraction, contact the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). They are a national organization committed to defending equality.
- Write an email about what’s happening and send it to the press, or here to A-List Girl (firstname.lastname@example.org), where we will help you publicize the problem and gain support.
- “If girls want to get involved in helping roll back religious exemptions to civil rights laws, they should start by learning the laws that govern their communities. If there are laws that they don’t like, because they have the potential to harm women and girls, they should contact their elected officials and advocate for change.” This quote was given to me by Steve Kilar, a communications director at ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Contact your local/state legislators to let them know your concerns.
Kids who voice concerns are usually taken seriously. You can do something!
About the Reporter
Camille L. is a 6th grade reporter for A-List Girl and plays several sports. She is an advocate for girls and believes that girls should be given the same opportunities as boys. She and her mom worked on this piece together.