California Park and Recreation Departments Fall Short on Gender Equity

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New Report Shows Lack of Compliance with AB 2404 in Community Youth Athletics
Contact: 
Sara Feldman
Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
415-593-0096
sfeldman@las-elc.org
Sheilagh Polk
Coaching Corps
510-496-5101
sheilaghp@coachingcorps.org
Jane H. Adams
California Park & Recreation Society
916-665-2777
jane@cprs.org
November 19, 2013
San Francisco, CA.

In the newly released California Park and Recreation Gender Equity in Community Sports Report, Fair Play for Girls in Sports (a project of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center), Coaching Corps, and the California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS), found that California park and recreation departments generally perceive that community youth sports are gender equitable, yet nearly half of the state’s departments are not tracking participants’ gender in programming.  Nonetheless, park and recreation departments are open to receiving training so they may achieve gender equity under the law. 

AB 2404, the first law of its kind in the country, mandates gender equity in community youth athletic programs.  For the first time since passage of the law in 2004, information is now available through the Report to measure how park and recreation departments are implementing the law. Preliminary findings indicate serious gaps remain in gender equity, leaving girls without the same access to athletic opportunities, facilities, and resources enjoyed by boys.

Specifically, the report shows that, while park and recreation staff generally believe that equity exists between boys and girls in sports programming, only 51.9% of respondents report that their department tracks participant gender in their youth sport programs, a key mechanism for ensuring equality. Additionally, very few respondents (less than 12%) reported receiving any training on AB 2404, despite the law being in effect for almost a decade.  Both tracking and training are necessary for compliance with the law—essential first steps toward ensuring gender equity in community athletic programs.  

Girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from high school and college, live healthier lives, develop leadership skills, and succeed in the workplace. This is particularly true for low-income girls who may not have access to school teams and private club sports.  Given these known benefits, girls need sports opportunities in their neighborhood park and recreation departments.  

While great strides have been made in school athletic programs through Title IX (the federal law requiring gender equity in public education and athletics), local park and recreation departments still have considerable work to do to ensure equal access.  

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Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
LAS-ELC, founded in 1916, protects the rights and economic self-sufficiency of working poor people by providing a wide range of free legal services and by engaging in policy advocacy, public education, and technical assistance on behalf of low-income workers and their communities.  LAS-ELC addresses the full spectrum of employment-related issues for our clients, such as unpaid wages; denial of family and medical leave; denial of disability accommodations; and discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, immigration status, language, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Fair Play for Girls in Sports, a project of LAS-ELC, promotes the health, well-being, education, and future employment opportunities of girls in grades K–12 by ensuring sports programs provided by public schools and park and recreation departments afford girls equal athletic opportunities as required by Title IX and California state law AB 2404. For more information please visit Fair Play for Girls in Sports.

Coaching Corps
Coaching Corps is a non-profit organization that levels the playing field for kids in low-income communities, giving them access to supportive and well-trained volunteer coaches and involvement in team sports to inspire healthy growth and development. For more information, visit www.coachingcorps.org.

California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS)
The California Park & Recreation Society is a non-profit organization that provides education, networking, resources and serves as the public advocate for California park and recreation professionals. CPRS members are local, state, and national parks and recreation professionals. For more information, visit www.cprs.org.

Lauren Rauscher, Ph.D.
Lauren Rauscher, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. Her research is anchored in the experiences of women and girls, exploring how gender intersects with race and class to form patterns of inequality and privilege in the domains of health, positive youth development, work and the U.S. labor market, and education. She is also one of the founding board members of Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County, where she combined her passion for social justice, physical activity, and community building.

2007

Managing Attorney William C. McNeill receives the Kutak-Dodds Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), as well as the Oberlin Alumni Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Ho receives the Alumni Public Service Award from Stanford Law School.

2009

Senior Staff Attorney Claudia Center receives the Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights from the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law.

2011

Senior Staff Attorney Sharon Terman receives the Stanford Law School Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award.

2013

LAS-ELC launches a project to provide employment-related legal services to those who have served in the military and their families, called Jobs & Justice for Service Members, Veterans and Military Families.

2013

Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Ho is honored by Chinese for Affirmative Action for his litigation on behalf of immigrants.

2008

Participating in a broad coalition of civil rights leaders, LAS–ELC drafts portions of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush.

2013

Senate Bill 400, cosponsored by LAS-ELC, is signed into law. It prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. And it requires employers to provide reasonable safety accommodations to survivors at work.

2013

Senate Bill 770, sponsored by LAS–ELC, is signed into law. It expands Paid Family Leave to include caregiving for seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.

2014

LAS-ELC helps ensure passage of the San Francisco Retail Workers Bill of Rights, which gives more predictable schedules and greater opportunities for full-time work to restaurant and retail workers. 

2007

Guo Jianmei, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Director of the Peking University Women’s Legal Aid Center asks staff attorneys Patricia Shiu and Elizabeth Kristen to partner on a pioneering legal initiative to address workplace sexual harassment in China. This effort has the potential to affect as many as 10 million low-income women in the Chinese textile and garment industry.

2009

With the economy stagnant and unemployment high, calls to LAS–ELC’s free legal clinics spike. In 2009, the Workers Rights Clinics serve 2,800 low-wage individuals, and the work and family hotline responds to 1,000 calls.

2012

The Workers’ Rights Clinic adds locations in Fresno and Santa Ana (Orange County).

2014

LAS-ELC adds Workers' Rights Clinic location in Woodland to serve Davis/Sacramento area, in addition to San Francisco, Berkeley, Fresno and Santa Ana (Orange County).