GOOD

The Gender Gap Is Closing In Youth Sports, But There’s One Big Problem

How school segregation impacts opportunities for kids in sports

By standard measures, there has never been more opportunity for girls to participate in youth and college sports than there was in 2016. This is positive, but normal. Participation numbers have steadily risen since the passing of landmark education legislation Title IX in 1972. Here’s where we stood this year:


•There were 3.3 million girl participants in high school varsity sports (compared to 4.5 million boys)

•Around 212,000 women played on NCAA sports teams (compared to 275,000 men)

•There were 10,449 women's college sports teams in NCAA divisions (compared to 9,057 men’s teams)

This four-decades-long growth is testament to the power of federal policy specifically designed to combat discrimination in education, but it also offers a limited picture of the problem. General statistics obscure the fact that the trend, at least on a high school level, is driven by schools that don’t represent the public, and often is not reflected in schools serving racially diverse communities.

In May, the Government Accountability Office released data showing that the number of public schools with over 75 percent black and Hispanic students nearly doubled between 2000 and 2014, now accounting for 16 percent of all public K-12 schools. Six decades after the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of public schools in Brown v. Board of Education, resegregation is surging. And the GOA report shows that modern segregation, as in 1954, produces resource inequalities—these schools offer disproportionately fewer math, science, and college prep courses and have disproportionately higher rates of suspension and expulsion.

This unequal provision of school programs extends into sports—and disproportionately impacts girls of color. As the National Women’s Law Center reported last year, 40 percent of heavily minority schools (10 percent or less white) have large gender inequality in athletics, compared to just 16 percent of heavily white schools (90 percent or more white) schools. An athletic gender gap is considered to be “large” if the percentage of total spots on sports teams allocated to girls is at least 10 points lower than the percentage of girls attending the school.

Image via National Women’s Law Center

Translating into real numbers, at heavily white high schools, there are 58 available spots on girls sports teams for every 100 students, while at heavily minority high schools there are just 25 spots per 100 students. Put simply, girls of color receive the fewest opportunities to play. The authors of the study offer a blunt conclusion, urging comprehensive policy reform:

Girls of color are finishing last when it comes to opportunities to play sports in school and missing out on the lifelong benefits that accompany athletic participation. While the playing field is far from level for girls in general, it is particularly uneven for girls in heavily minority schools. Tackling the problem will require policymakers at all levels—federal, state, and local—and communities to work together to increase opportunities for girls of color to play sports and be physically active. Doing so is not only required by law, but is also a critical investment in their future.

Continuing to increase investment in girls sports at all schools is important. But if we are truly committed to making youth sports accessible to girls—in the face of an incoming secretary of education whose policy preferences exasperated school segregation in Michigan—we can’t separate interscholastic athletic inequities from segregation. We also can’t cheer broad progress while ignoring that women of color are doubly marginalized in sport, shown even more recently in England’s latest national fitness survey.

Sports

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

Keep Reading Show less
Lifestyle