A senior Democrat wants to extend Title IX reporting requirements on female athletic opportunities to elementary and high schools as well as colleges.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced an amendment that passed in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) “as part of a major U.S. Senate education overhaul,” according to Murray’s office.
“Forty years ago, Congress passed Title IX and paved the way for women to get involved in athletics at the college level, but we still don’t do enough to ensure that girls of all ages have equal opportunities to get involved in sports,” said Murray. “We know that girls who play sports live healthier lives and succeed in the classroom and their careers, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t have the chance to get involved with sports at an early age.”
Colleges and universities are required to report information on opportunities for women to participate in athletic programs. There aren’t any federal requirements for grades kindergarten through high school to do the same.
“Despite the growth of female athletic participation since Title IX was enacted forty years ago, schools are providing 1.3 million fewer chances for girls to play sports in high school as compared to boys. Federal law requires colleges to make gender equity in sports information publicly available each year, but elementary and secondary schools are not required to report this data, making it hard to ensure fairness at the elementary and secondary school levels,” Murray’s office said in a fact sheet on the legislation.
“At the same time, we know that access to sports can have a significant positive impact on girls. Research shows girls who had opportunities to play sports have a lower risk of obesity later in life, lower rates of pregnancy, lower incidence of depression, and more positive body image compared to non-athletes. Additionally, young women who play sports are more likely to graduate from high school, have higher grades, and score higher on standardized tests than non-athletes.”