Examining the Provision of School-Based Athletics in Public High Schools Among Girls in the United States

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BACKGROUND:In order to better understand some of the barriers to athletic opportunities for girls, we examined school-level characteristics to assess how they are associated with both the provision and participation in athletic opportunities for girls across US public high schools.

METHODS:Cross-sectional data for this study comes from the bi-annual Civil Rights Data Collection which collects school-level information for all US public schools between the 2009-2010 through 2017-2018 school years.

RESULTS:Several important school-level characteristics were found to limit the provision of athletic opportunities,participation rates and athletic participation gender equity ratios for girls and included the percent of the student body who were eligible for free lunch and who were racial minorities. Moreover, the analysis found that greater provision of athletic opportunities for boys was associated with lower athletic participation gender equity ratios across US public high schools (ie,lower participation for girls when compared to boys).

CONCLUSIONS:This study provides evidence that schools with fewer resources and a higher proportion of disadvantaged students tend to have the fewest opportunities to participate in school-based athletics, particularly among girls. Moreover, girls’ participation rates in athletics still lag behind boys despite having similar numbers of sports and sport teams.


Human Performance

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Journal of School Health