Announcing FAIR:PLAY, a new tool to promote equity for girls

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FISA Foundation is proud to announce that its grantee and partner, Women’s Law Project, has launched FAIR:PLAY, a new tool to expose schools that are shortchanging girls in athletic opportunities, and to give girls, parents and advocates the tools to advocate effectively.  Sports participation is very important to many young people, promoting confidence, engagement with school, leadership development, health and physical fitness, and pipelines to college.  Since 1972, schools have been required to treat girls fairly and yet, 45 years later, many routinely provide more and better opportunities to boys.

The Fair:Play website provides clear dashboards showing athletic participation in public schools across Pennsylvania, highlighting opportunity gaps for schools that shortchange girls (based on data provided by each district to the PA Board of Education), and suggest strategies for addressing inequity.

“Discrimination against female student athletes is an ongoing, pervasive problem in far too many school districts across the state,” says Susan Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney of the Women’s Law Project, a public interest law center dedicated to the rights of women and girls in Pennsylvania. “The problem cuts across factors like school size, budget, and location. We developed FAIR:PLAY to empower students, parents and community members to advocate for equality in sports, and hold their schools accountable for shortchanging female students.”

How does FAIR:PLAY Work? Type the name of any public Pennsylvania high school, junior high, or middle school into the search bar, and you will be shown the Title IX gap. The Title IX gap is calculated by subtracting the percent of school-sponsored athletic opportunities filled by female athletes from the percent of female students. For comparison’s sake, the results will also display the statewide Title IX gap (which is 6.53%) and the relevant countywide Title IX gap. A double-digit Title IX gap strongly suggests that the school’s athletic program is not in compliance with Title IX. You will also be able to tell if a particular school failed to submit data at all.

How we created FAIR:PLAY. The Women’s Law Project, with support from the FISA Foundation, worked with undergraduate and high school student programmers and professional female coders—themselves beneficiaries of Title IX—to develop the FAIR:PLAY website during a weekend-long hackathon in February 2017.

“It was a remarkable STEM learning experience that showcased the region’s technical talent as well as the participants’ dedication to fairness and equality,” says Kristy Trautmann, Executive Director of the FISA Foundation. “We believe FAIR:PLAY will make a real difference for parents, students, teachers, coaches, and community members, by giving them the tools they need to improve opportunities for female athletes in their schools, and fight for equality.”

 

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