By Ken Reed

As a society, we’ve definitely come a long ways since Title IX was enacted in 1972. But we still have a significant ways to go.

The gap between where we are now and where we need be in order to have equal opportunity in sports for both genders is evident when looking at a recently settled Title IX bias case filed against Washington, D.C schools.

The complaint charged D.C. schools’ sports programs with systematically discriminating against girls.

“When it comes to Title IX, schools in D.C. are about as bad as I’d ever care to see,” according to Herb Dempsey, a retired educator and Title IX activist based in Washington state who filed the complaint last spring.

According to the settlement agreement, signed by D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, girls will now be given the same opportunities to play sports as boys in D.C.

“This is a signpost to the future,” said Dempsey. “Ultimately, I’m hoping that a girl born in Washington D.C. will no longer have to pay a price for being treated like a second-class citizen.”

The most upsetting thing regarding Title IX’s status today isn’t the fact that girls still fall far short of equality, it’s that the gap between the two genders is widening again after decades of narrowing.

Consider this sobering statistic: Since 2004, the gap in the number of sports participation opportunities between males and females has expanded, not decreased. More athletics opportunities have been created for males than females in recent years.

“There are millions of more girls participating in sports today than there were 40 years ago,” says Donna Lopiano, president of Sports Management Resources and former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “But I thought we’d be further along on this issue. Men’s sports are growing faster than women’s the last five or six years in terms of opportunities.

It’s time to stop that trend and get back on course.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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