Fair Play for Girls in Sports: New LAS-ELC Project Launched

New Project
Fair Play for Girls in Sports: New LAS-ELC Project Launched
November 28, 2012
Girls playing soccer

Participating in sports can have a profound and lasting positive effect on the future of girls, especially those in low-income communities and communities of color. 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.

Significant strides have been made under Title IX in securing equality for women in collegiate sports programs, since its enactment nearly 40 years ago. However girls—and especially those who live in low-income communities and who attend public elementary, middle, and high schools—have been left behind. And girls also have failed to benefit from a California law (AB 2404) enacted a decade ago requiring equal access to state and local Park and Recreation programs.

With the generous support of John and Terry Levin and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California, Fair Play for Girls in Sports will advance the promise of Title IX and AB 2404 for poor girls in grades K–12. To achieve its purpose, Fair Play for Girls in Sports will employ a multi-pronged approach of public education, policy advocacy, technical assistance, and strategic litigation. Central to these efforts will be identifying key schools, districts, and communities where the largest numbers of low-income and minority girls will benefit.

The LAS–ELC is also pleased to announce that Tamika Butler, a graduate of Stanford Law School and former Skadden Fellow, has been selected to serve as the John and Terry Levin Fellow. During her two year Fellowship, Ms. Butler will partner with Elizabeth Kristen, Director of the Gender Equity Program, to help realize the promise of Title IX for poor girls. Ms. Kristen is recognized statewide and nationally for her expertise in this important but neglected area of law.

Playing softball has helped me in school. If I didn’t play sports, I’m not sure that I would have the drive to stay in school and pursue a career. Playing softball helps me to set my priorities regarding my grades, not only for myself but for my team, who depends on me. It pushes me to do better in school and gives me the drive and determination to stay on top and strive to be a top player at school.

—Veronica Ollier, LAS–ELC Client and Named Plaintiff in Ollier v. Sweetwater