The National Women’s Law Center and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) released a new report revealing in stark detail that girls of color are finishing last when it comes to the opportunity to play sports in high school. Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities shows that, at both the state and national level, heavily minority schools provide fewer sports opportunities—defined as spots on teams—compared to heavily white schools. Heavily minority schools also allocate these spots less equally between boys and girls, leaving girls of color especially shortchanged. This means that girls of color receive far fewer spots on teams than white girls, white boys, and boys of color.
The failure to give girls equal athletics opportunities deprives them of the lifelong benefits of playing sports—better health, academic and employment outcomes, as well as increased self-esteem and leadership skills. To help address the problem, the report includes steps that policy makers, communities, and schools can take to help to improve opportunities for girls of color—from increasing racially and economically integrated educational opportunities to stepping up enforcement of Title IX and Title VI to increasing data transparency.
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