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An Ode to Serena Williams

When I was a senior in high school, I had pictures of three athletes up in my bedroom: Michael Jordan, Cal Ripken, and Serena Williams. That might not seem like a strange list right now, but sixteen years ago, Serena stood out like a sore thumb. Michael Jordan and Cal Ripken were stars with incredible records under their belts. Serena had only recently broken into the top 10 women tennis players. Read more »

3 Lessons We Should Learn from the Charlottesville Cavaliers

The Charlottesville Cavaliers are 10-years old.  Some of them have been playing basketball together since they were five.  And, they were rocking the National Travel Basketball Association’s annual tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. until they were disqualified because one of their players just happens to be a girl.

Kymora Johnson has been a Cavalier since she was five and has always been treated as, well, a member of the team.  She has played in the Myrtle Beach tournament twice before.  In fact, this year, it wasn’t until the Cavaliers were leading the pack, going five games undefeated, that officials decided to bar them from the finals.

Lesson 1: Sometimes the Kids are More Mature than the Adults Read more »

Women's World Cup Parade Inspires Young Kids to Take on the World

This morning, the US Women’s National Soccer Team celebrated their smashing victory in the Women’s World Cup with a Canyon of Heroes ticker-tape parade in New York City. This historic parade was the first ever ticker-tape parade in New York City honoring a women’s sports team. Amongst the confetti, flags, and crowds, hundreds of young fans—boys and girls alike—gathered to cheer the accomplishments of the women’s team. Ahead are some of our favorite moments of young fans celebrating the women’s World Cup win. Read more »

ESEA: Rally Time for Equity in Sports

UPDATE: On Wednesday, July 8th, the Senate passed the High School Data Transparency Act (S.Amdt.2124) by a voice vote as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act (a bill that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)). The data act, which would help ensure that girls have equal access to athletic opportunities, is now part of the ESEA reauthorization bill pending before the Senate. Senator Murray’s amendment had four other co-sponsors: Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). 

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Gender Wage Gap Runs Rampant in Sports

On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team beat Japan 5-2 in one of the most riveting, dramatic, and intense soccer matches I have ever seen. Carli Lloyd was unstoppable, scoring an unheard of three goals in just the first 16 minutes.

Iconic team leaders Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone both took the field in the second half of the match for what was likely their final World Cup appearance. Rampone has been a staple on the team since the last time they won the World Cup in 1999. Wambach has also made a lasting impact on the squad, both for skill and leadership. She will likely end her playing career with the record for most international goals scored of any U.S. soccer player, man or woman. But even these prolific athletes cannot escape the harsh reality of being a woman in America. Read more »

Girls, Sports, and Equality: A State-by-State Ranking on Title IX

Public high schools across the country are not providing girls with their fair share of spots on sports teams—and today, on the 43rd anniversary of Title IX, we released a new analysis that shows every state is falling short. The analysis features an interactive map and a state-by-state ranking based on the percentage of high schools in each state and the District of Columbia that have large gender equity gaps in sports participation.*

Using the latest Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-2012 school year we find that: Read more »

Turf Wars in the World Cup and Title IX

The Women's World Cup recently began in Canada, with the best soccer teams in the world facing off against one another in a thrilling tournament. I love the World Cup, and I watch most of the games that I can. There’s nothing more exciting than an unexpected goal, or a come-from-behind win in the last few minutes. This tournament is usually pretty identical to the men's World Cup, if not more exciting. However this time there's one glaring difference: the women are playing on turf. 

Blatant Gender Discrimination

Until this year, the FIFA World Cup has always been played on real grass. The men’s tournament hosted in Brazil last year was played on grass, and the 2018 and 2022 tournaments have also been scheduled to be played on grass. FIFA has long had issues with sexism, but this clear lack of respect for the women’s game has been too blatant to overlook. Read more »

WNBA Should Address Discrimination Issues

Last week marked the start of an exciting summer filled with women’s sports. While the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Canada, the WNBA’s 2015 season began in the United States. However, the opening games have been overshadowed by controversy.

Former NBA player and coach Isiah Thomas was named president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty in May. This news comes eight years after a jury found that Isiah Thomas sexually harassed a former team executive while he was the president and coach of the NBA’s New York Knicks. Before the lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court, the jury concluded that Thomas sexually harassed an employee (though the jury did not decide whether he had to pay damages) and that Madison Square Garden, the Knicks’ owner, improperly fired the woman for complaining about the harassment.  Read more »

New Report Shows How Girls of Color Are Doubly Disadvantaged in Access to School Sports Opportunities

Venus and Serena Williams, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Jessica Mendoza, Michelle Wie... The sheer excellence of these female athletes of color might lead one to think that the playing field is finally level, for all girls and women. But the sad truth is that high schools across the country still do not give girls equal opportunities to play sports, and girls of color are doubly disadvantaged. That’s the main message of a report released today by the National Women’s Law Center and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, which presents new data in a new way to highlight athletic disparities on the basis of race and gender.  

Because data on sports opportunities, or spots on teams, are not available by gender and race together, the report compares the opportunities provided by heavily minority schools (where 10 percent or less of the students are white) and heavily white schools (where 90 percent or more of the students are white). The major findings of the report are: Read more »

Title IX Enforcement Funding Gets a Boost in the President's Budget

In 1973, legendary female tennis player Billie Jean King faced taunts and disbelief when she played Bobby Riggs in the famously televised “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. 

This week, Serena Williams won her 19th grand slam title.

Today we celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day. We are reminded this week how far girls and women have come in sports since 1972 when Title IX was passed: women’s participation in collegiate athletics climbed from less than 16 percent in 1972 to 44 percent in the 2010-11 academic year.  Though women’s sports participation is far from equal, last year girls’ participation in high school sports hit a record-high: girls make up almost 42 percent of high school athletes. Read more »