2015 Public Interest Grant:
LAS-ELC’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports
by Grant Recipient Molly Frandsen
Over the past summer, I worked with Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s (“LAS-ELC”) Fair Play for Girls In Sports project, and created an informational video on girls’ rights to gender equity in school and community sports. This video project was generously supported by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (“WLALA”).
LAS-ELC’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports works to ensure girls in grades K-12, particularly girls of color and those in low-income areas, have equal opportunities to participate in school and community sports and reap the lifelong rewards of athletic involvement. Studies show that girls who participate in sports maintain higher confidence and self-esteem. They receive better grades and are more likely to graduate compared with girls who do not play sports. Once in the workforce, on average, girls who participate in athletics in high school earn 7% more. The opportunity to participate in athletics is critically important to a girl’s future economic success.
Girls’ rights to equity in public school sports are protected by Title IX. Though the law has been in effect since 1972, trainings and outreach conducted by Fair Play reveal enormous information gaps in what the law requires. Many schools fail to comply and girls lack both the knowledge and the means to enforce Title IX. Even less well-known is AB 2404, the Fair Play in Community Sports Act, which mandates gender equity in community youth competitive athletics programs run by or hosted through parks and recreation departments of California.
To ensure girls are informed of their rights, I created a short, informational video that targets elementary, middle, and high school girls, their families, teachers, coaches, and advocates. The video features female high school student athletes passionate about sports and the legal requirements that mandate participation opportunities equal to those provided to their male counterparts. In the video, the girls explain the basics of the laws and encourage others to speak up if they are experiencing inequality in a school or community sports program.
My career goal is to protect and forward economic justice for low-income women and their families. The LAS-ELC clerkship allowed me to address one of the forms of gender inequality young women face before they enter the workplace and explore the power of combining the law and community education to advance justice. Thank you to WLALA for the financial assistance in making this experience possible for me.
Follow this link to view the video: https://las-elc.org/fair-play-for-girls-in-sports#title-ix-video.