May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
The Impact of Title IX
It wasn’t always this way.
Title IX has impacted the lives of girls and women in ways both large and small. And Title IX, though it is far from perfect and remains unevenly implemented, has arguably done more for girls’ and women’s physical fitness and their participation in organized sports than any other action.
During CWEALF’s first two years, it was very active in the fight for women’s rights on the field and with the passage of Title IX, CWEALF mobilized to educate teachers, coaches and others through training and materials that explained the provisions of the law.
So, how has increased participation of girls and women in sports affected their well-being?
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation (2015),
- Physical activity during adolescence improves breast cancer survival rates.
- Strength training in younger years improves bone health for adolescents.
- Engagement in sports makes it less likely that girls will use illicit substances.
- Sports and moderate exercise helped protect girls and women from depression.
- Schools with increased participation of girls in sports saw a higher representation of girls in AP science courses.
However, these gains have not been realized for all women and girls. The Women’s Sports Foundation (2016) indicates that young women of color were less likely to be involved in sports at younger ages, largely because of higher poverty rates (and hence, fewer resources) in their neighborhoods and fewer programs and opportunities open to them.
Additionally, families of girls of color were more likely to not participate or stop participating in sports because their families could not afford to support their participation. These disparities have long-lasting effects on the participation at the college level and on the long-term health of women of color.
While Title IX was, and is still essential, to women’s health and well-being, it is not sufficient. A yardstick that accounts for equity must also be applied, so that young women of color are guaranteed the opportunity to participate and benefit from physical activity.
By Lucy Brakoniecki at 25 May 2016, 09:41 AM
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