PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — For many high school students, sports provide a much-needed outlet, teach lifelong skills and open doors to future opportunities. Next week marks 50 years since Title IX helped level the playing field for female athletes nationwide, expanding their access to these benefits. But in many local high schools, girls — and particularly girls of color — still face barriers to equality.
Proportional representation is a central tenet of Title IX: If half of a school’s students are girls, then half of its athletes should be girls. According to the National Women’s Law Center, a discrepancy of more than 10 percentage points between the share of students who are girls and the share of athletes who are girls suggests a school’s athletic program could be in violation of Title IX.
Across the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro area, about 13% of high schools have gaps at least that large, an ABC analysis of Department of Education data found. Nationwide, about one in five high schools have gaps considered significant by NWLC.