The Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure Act, passed in 2012 with strong bipartisan support, created a working gender-equity law that requires public secondary schools (grades 7-12) in Pennsylvania to report basic information about their school-sponsored athletic programs once a year. These reports have revealed that Pennsylvania school districts are shortchanging their female students by failing to provide them with sufficient athletic opportunities in proportion to the percentage of female students enrolled.
According to Women's Law Project, gender gaps in athletic participation are as big as 18.72%. This law causes the state and communities to face the facts of gender discrimination, data that is otherwise easy to cover up with social constructs.
If passed, HB 1112, which came up for a vote in the Education Committee today and was re-committed to the House Rules Committee, could threaten the gender equity law. HB 1112 specifies that the Department of Education suspend "unnecessary, burdensome, or redundant" education data collection. The DOE can determine the boundaries of these words at its own discretion, meaning that the Equity in Interscholastic Athletics Disclosure Act may be repealed if HB 1112 were ever to be passed into law.
As the gender gap shows, data collection of Pennsylvania schools' athletics is still necessary. The survey itself only takes 2-6 hours out of one year to complete. And without it, girls will continue to lose out on the many benefits associated with team sports, such as improved health, development of leadership and personal skills, and access to college scholarships.
Please urge your legislator not to support HB 1112 and, in doing so, support girls and women of Pennsylvania.
Interested in PathWays PA blog posts on similar topics?