Right Field

Title IX at Work in D.C.

From today’s Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools introduce flag football as a girls’ varsity sport.

An excerpt:

“Whenever you hear football, it’s always like that it’s a boys’ sport and girls can’t really play, so I figured I’d show them that girls can play just as well as boys,” Blissett said. “I’ve always wanted to do it.”

Girls in D.C. Public Schools now have that chance, since the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association introduced flag football as a varsity sport this spring in an effort to raise girls’ participation in sports and improve its compliance with Title IX, the law mandating gender equity at all federally funded institutions. The season began Friday, with six of the 17 DCPS high schools fielding teams. Nearly 70 girls are playing.

According to DCPS figures for the 2010-11 school year, girls made up 51 percent of the total high school enrollment (6,058 of 11,988) but only 39 percent of the athletic participants (1,060 of 2,743). To improve those participation numbers, DCPS officials surveyed high school girls last year and adopted the two most-requested sports. Flag football was the overwhelming No. 1 choice followed by bowling, which was introduced as a varsity sport this past winter. Alaska and Florida are the only states that currently offer flag football as a varsity sport.

And here’s the explanation for why flag football was the “overwhelming No. 1″ choice, but only 70 girls are playing at 6 schools:

But so far, flag football has not drawn many first-time varsity athletes. Because it is played in the spring, which is home to the two most popular sports for girls (outdoor track and softball), the majority of flag football players are doubling up. Dunbar, for instance, has so many softball players and track athletes on its team that Friday’s inaugural game against Eastern marked the first time that the full squad was on the same field together



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