The Pennsylvania Senate approved Senate Bill 890 by a vote of 48-0 on Tuesday, giving a boost to this key legislation that would help parents, students and gender equity advocates determine whether Commonwealth middle schools and high schools are treating girls and boys equally in athletics programs.
SB 890 is similar to the federal Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, which requires colleges and universities to annually report basic information about their athletics program, including the number of male and female participants and financial and coaching information. The EADA was passed in 1994 and has been a great tool for gender equity advocates to assess how colleges and universities are treating women’s sports programs.
Currently, three other states – Kentucky, Georgia and New Mexico – have legislation like SB 890 on the books.
This legislative session is rapidly drawing to a close, however: only eight session days remain for the PA House, and any legislation that isn’t passed by the end of the session will die. Earlier this year, the House Education Committee approved the House version of the bill, HB 2061.
This is common sense legislation that simply requires schools to disclose basic information to parents, students and community members. You can help advance gender equity in Pennsylvania’s schools by contacting your state representative today and telling them that you support HB2061 and SB890. Visit the legislature’s website to find your representative, or contact the Women’s Law Project and we’d be happy to assist you. You can find talking points on the legislation here (PDF).
During the 2008-09 school year, there were 24,794 fewer athletic opportunities available to female high school students than to male high school students in Pennsylvania high schools. And taken as a whole, female student athletes in Pennsylvania get fewer opportunities to play high school sports and are given inferior equipment, uniforms, fields, facilities, coaching, publicity, scheduling, and transportation than male athletes. The time to act is now.
Don’t let the clock run out on equality!