Study: Georgia, D.C. lead nation in gender equity gaps

June 24, 2015 / Athletic Administration
Nearly two-thirds of Georgia high schools have large gender equity gaps that could indicate girls are not being provided with enough opportunities to play sports, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

A new study shows that 28 percent of the nation's schools have a gender equity gap of 10 percent or greater.
A new study shows that 28 percent of the nation’s schools have a gender equity gap of 10 percent or greater. | Photo: Kevin Hoffman

A new analysis based on information collected by the U.S. Education Department showed that Georgia led the nation in percentage of schools with gender equity gaps of 10 percent or greater. Georgia (66.3 percent of schools) was followed by the District of Columbia (62.1), Alabama (57.8), Mississippi (57) and Tennessee (55.5). A ranking of every state can be found below.

Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel with the NWLC, told The Washington Post that while the findings don’t unequivocally show that two-thirds of Georgia schools are breaking Title IX laws, she has never come across a school with a significant gap that was in compliance.

Title IX requires that the percentage of spots on teams allocated to girls is roughly equal to the percentage of students who are female.

From The Washington Post:

“Girls across the country are still not getting equal chances to play sports and that’s a big problem,” said Chaudhry.

Chaudhry acknowledged that some people see gender gaps not as evidence a violation of girls’ civil rights but as evidence that girls just aren’t interested in playing sports. That’s an argument that people have been making since before Title IX was passed, she said, and yet girls’ participation in sports has grown as more opportunities have become available to them.

Schools with big gender gaps should be surveying their female students to find out whether they’re interested in athletics, and if so, what sports they want to play, she said. “A school can’t just sit back and say, ‘Well, girls aren’t interested in playing’ if they haven’t even asked the girls,” Chaudhry said.

Data for the study was collected during the 2011-12 school year, so it’s possible some schools have made progress in closing their gender equity gaps. The NWLC said of the 16,000 high schools examined, 28 percent (4,500 schools) had large gender equity gaps.

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From the National Women's Law Center.
From the National Women’s Law Center.

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