Equality For Your Girls In Your Parks

  1. What is the law?

    In 2004, the California Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law AB 2404 to expand opportunities for girls to play sports in “community parks and recreation.”  The law says that girls have to be given equal opportunities to participate in community youth athletic programs equal, both in quality and scope, to boys.  While many mistakenly believe the law becomes effective in 2015, in fact, the law went into effect January 1, 2005 and is currently applicable.

  2. Why is AB 2404 important?

    .In poor communities, there is a large gap in sports participation between boys and girls.  Recent research shows that in California “low-income teens have fewer options for physical activity, so they are more dependent on parks.”  Data suggests that community youth athletic programs are uniquely situated to promote equal access to athletic opportunities for low-income girls.  Similarly, they suggest that when girls in general are under-represented in park-sponsored youth athletic programs, low-income girls are disproportionately missing out on the benefits of athletic participation.

    Studies have shown that high school girls who participate in team sports are less likely to drop out of school, less likely to smoke or drink, or become pregnant.  And they are more likely to go on to college.  The skills that young women gain from sports participation, including teamwork, leadership, and discipline, can be crucial to their later success in higher education and employment.

  3. Where does the law come into play?

    Studies have shown that high school girls who participate in team sports are less likely to drop out of school, less likely to smoke or drink, or become pregnant.  And they are more likely to go on to college.  The skills that young women gain from sports participation, including teamwork, leadership, and discipline, can be crucial to their later success in higher education and employment.

  4. How do you know your Parks & Rec is following the law?

    The law identifies twelve different factors to determine whether discrimination exists in local sports programming. These factors include:

    1. Whether the community youth athletic programs effectively accommodate the athletic interest and abilities of both boys and girls.
    2. Who is getting monies, equipment, and supplies.
    3. The scheduling of games and practice times.
    4. The opportunity to receive coaching.
    5. The assignment and compensation of coaches.
    6. Access to lands and areas accessed through permitting, leasing, or other land use arrangements, or otherwise accessed through a city, a county, a city and county, or a special district.
    7. The selection of the season for a sport.
    8. The location of games and practices.
    9. Availability of locker rooms.
    10. The provision of practice and competitive facilities.
    11. The manner of providing publicity.
    12. Officiating by umpires, referees, or judges who have met training and certification standards.
  5. How is the state law (AB 2404) related to federal law (Title IX)?

    AB 2404 incorporates concepts from and coordinates the obligations of three key pieces of legislation attacking gender discrimination in athletic activities: Title IX (gender equality in federally-funded institutions), the Unruh Civil Rights Act (California law), and AB 833 (prohibiting sex discrimination in state secondary and postsecondary institutions).

    In particular, like Title IX, AB 2404 provides three ways that a local government can show that it “effectively accommodate[s] the athletic interests and abilities of both genders.”  The three ways to show compliance are:

    1. The community youth athletics program opportunities for boys and girls are provided in numbers substantially proportionate to their respective numbers in the community; OR
    2. Where the members of one gender have been, and continue to be, underrepresented in community youth athletics programs, the city, county, city and county, or special district can show a history and continuing practice of program                 expansion and allocation of resources that are demonstrably responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the members of that gender [Note: This way of showing compliance is no longer available starting Jan. 1, 2015,               as departments will have had ten years to appropriately expand by 2015]; OR
    3. Where the members of one gender are underrepresented in community youth athletics programs, the city, county, city and county, or special district can demonstrate that the interests and abilities of the members of that gender have             been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program and allocation of resources.

    If you have questions about compliance in your community, contact the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports project toll-free at (877) 593-0074 or email fairplay@las-elc.org.  More information about Fair Play for Girls in Sports can be found at http://www.las-elc.org/fair-play-for-girls-in-sports

     

If you have questions about compliance in your community, contact the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports project.

Disclaimer

This Fact Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general information regarding legal rights relating to employment in California. Yet because laws and legal procedures are subject to frequent change and differing interpretations, the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center cannot ensure the information in this Fact Sheet is current nor be responsible for any use to which it is put. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.