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Rep. Slaughter Introduces Bill to Improve Girls' Athletics

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, introduced a bill yesterday designed to improve participation in and funding of high school girls' sports. The announcement was keyed to National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an annual event since 1987.

The High School Athletics Accountability Act would require high schools to report the number of students attending the school, the number of male and female students participating in the athletics program, the number of boys' and girls' sports teams, the budget and expenditures for all the teams, and detailed information about coaches and other athletic personnel, including salaries and levels of experience. "Better information about girls' participation in sports will help high schools and parents to improve fairness and increase athletic opportunities for all students," Rep. Slaughter said in a press release

Girls' participation in school sports is on the rise since the implementation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity at federally funded educational institutions. But the numbers still fall short of gender equity in school sports, and not all schools are complying with the mandate, reports At the high school level, available participation data reveal that while girls comprise 50 percent of the general student population, they receive only 39 percent of athletic program opportunities.

"Girls who participate in sports are healthier, more confident, receive higher grades, and have access to more opportunities than non-athletes," Rep. Slaughter said, adding that high schools must be held accountable to provide an "equal playing field for female athletes."

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Media Resources: 5/05; Ms. Summer 2003