The Washington Post reported yesterday on efforts to remedy the gender disparities in athletics throughout the public high schools in the District of Columbia. This week, the National Women’s Law Center filed a complaint challenging the relative lack of opportunities for girls as well as inequalities in the resources available for girls’ teams. As shown in the Post’s graphic below, at most of the District’s high schools, the percentage of athletic opportunities got girls is at least ten points lower — and several more than twenty points lower! — than the percentage of students who are girls. To underscore this disparity, NWLC’s complaint notes that if the D.C. Public Schools allocated athletic opportunity proportionate to the representation of each gender in the high school student bodies, an additional 688 opportunities would have to be added for girls.
Collectively, D.C.’s disparities are worse not only than those in surrounding suburban areas, but as compared to those in other major cities as well, the Post reported. They also indicate a strong possibility of Title IX violations throughout the District, especially when coupled allegations in the complaint that D.C.P.S. found survey evidence of girls’ unmet interest in athletics, to which it has not responded.
It was reported that NWLC filed its complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after efforts to negotiate with D.C.P.S. were “unfruitful.” This apparent recalcitrance is unfortunate, and consistent with the fact, as noted by the Post, that the NWLC is not the first to file Title IX complaints against the District. Hopefully its effort will not need to be duplicated in the future as well.