Understand the Fair Play Act (AB 2404) – Gender Equity in Community Sports

Understand the Fair Play Act (AB 2404) – Gender Equity in Community Sports


Gender equity is required by law in
California’s youth community competitive sports programs. Sports are about more than fun and games.
They are key to lifelong health and success both on and off the field. Playing park and rec sports when I was younger was a real launch pad for me. I played
soccer in park and rec. but i also went on to playing softball, running track and
and playing basketball, and through those four sports playing those in high school
I was able to get 70 scholarship offers from all over the country and it was
amazing because it was an opportunity for me to make decisions and choices, and
I went on to play soccer and now I played soccer for the national team and it was
absolutely wonderful experience for me. AB 2404 – The Fair Play in Community
Sports Act, or ‘Fair Play Act’ is a California law that requires gender
equity in competitive youth sports programs run and hosted by park and rec.
departments In this video we’ll cover the main
things you need to know to ensure your park and recreation department affords
equal opportunities to play sports for girls and boys, and equal treatment and
benefits for all participating. We’ll go over: Why gender equity and
sports is important; The Fair Play Act facts; How Title IX
relates and background Fair Play Act nuts and bolts; Tips for
getting girls into the game and; Where to turn for more help Why is gender equity in sports
important? Girls who play sports benefit with better physical and mental health such as lower rates of breast cancer and depression. I think girls should play sports because it’s
fun and you learn new things every time. When I make a basket in basketball, I feel proud. My daughter, the first time she scored her first basket, she was so amazed and so proud of
herself, and it was like a 20-point game and she scored 12 of the points in
this one game because she realized she could. Young female athletes are more
likely to stay in school and graduation rates among schools of color who play
sports are higher than for the non-athlete counterparts. I had a lot of friends who, some chose to
play sports and some chose not to play sports, and it’s crazy to see the girls
who chose to play sports, how far they’ve gone, and on the other hand, I
have a friend who joined a gang I’m worried about her well-being and violence in her life every day. Girls who play sports in high school earn 7% higher wages as adults meaning sports participation equals
greater earning power. That grit, that resilience, that ability to come back from a fail of some sort of loss of some sort is really noticeable that the
girls who have a team sport experience are more successful. I don’t think a lot of people stop and
think about gender equity and I think it’s a very powerful subject that a lot
of people just need to open their eyes to. I think it definitely starts in
the parks and recreation departments because the whole community is involved
in those. The Fair Play Act is really important for everybody to not just do because they have to but do it
because it’s going to benefit their parks and rec. community. It’s going to benefit the kids that are growing up both boys and girls because when
everyone feels like they have a fair shot at it from a young age, it just
creates a much more positive environment. It’s important for us as park
recreation directors to champion our community especially those that are
underserved and as public servants we need to make sure that those who are
underserved other socio-economically or gender, that they have a place to
play. There’s a lot of political pressure with a lot of these historical use groups and so I think
it’s important for our us as professionals to stand up to that
political pressure at times and make sure that and we provide access to
everybody. Fair Play Act Facts The Fair Play Act is a
California law in effect right now and it has been since 2005. A lawsuit can be
filed against the park and rec department to address inequities. Third-party leagues count in the gender equity assessment even if they’re simply using permitted
lands or facilities. This means the park and rec. department
must ensure gender equity amongst all competitive youth sports programs run by
the department or hosted by the department for outside groups. How Title IX Relates and Background The Fair Play Act is based on Title IX, the
federal 1972 law requiring that federally funded schools, colleges, and
universities treat female and male students equally. Many park and rec. departments are not yet tracking gender to know whether their girls are getting an equal share of publicly funded athletic resources. Such tracking must start now. By some estimates, park and rec. sports
programs are 60% – 80% dedicated to boys, but just 20% – 40%
dedicated to girls Yet girls represent roughly half of the
youth in our communities and want to play sports just as much as the boys. Fair Play Act Nuts & Bolts So how does the law work to require
gender equity? To start, ‘equity’ means, 1) equitable opportunities to play, and, 2)
equitable treatment and benefits. In terms of the first part, ‘equitable
opportunities’ related to the actual number of girls and boys playing on
competitive teams. For example, if there are roughly 50% girls in your
community there should be roughly 50%
girls in your competitive athletic programs. The exact same sports need not
be offered to girls and boys so long as the share of girls
participating is equal to the share of girls in the community. The only exception to the rule comes
into play if the department shows that girls do NOT wish to play in greater
numbers, through surveys for example. However, girls are typically equally
interested in playing competitive sports if offered the right way. Co-ed teams are permitted but consider
whether girls feel welcome and included. In terms of the second part of the law, there must be equity in the overall
provision of treatment and benefits afforded to male and female athletes
such as: provision of money equipment and supplies; scheduling of games and practice times; opportunity to receive coaching and the assignment and compensation of coaches; access to lands through permits and leasing; selection of the sports season; location of games and practices; locker rooms; practice and competitive facilities; publicity; officiation by umpires, referees, or judges One important distinction is that the law
applies to competitive sports NOT classes clinics or camps which are
beneficial but not counted under the law. For example, competition may mean having a sustained season of games where teams play against one another as opposed to a
one-off chance to learn a sport. Imagine a department offering a boys’
little league with a full-fledged season of weekly games but girls getting just a
one-weekend tennis clinic and no other sports options. This would be unequal under the law. Offering a girls soccer league would be one way to equalize offerings. California and Washington State have explicit laws requiring gender equity in youth
community competitive sports programs but other states may have similar laws. Community youth sports program providers throughout the US should be considering
whether their programs are gender equitable and taking steps to make them
equitable right away. Tips for Getting Girls into the Game Count your girls. Ask for the data from all of your sports leagues as well as
your own internal leagues and understand what the numbers are. It’s actually really easy for parks and
recs departments to get gender statistics from us third-party clubs that are
running the field space. Reach out to your neighboring agencies
and see what they’ve done as well as be able to do any research online
about the law. There’s lots of information Just try. No matter if the revenue is
going to come in or not, just try and offer female sport programs. As a commissioner, I find that there’s opportunity to get more girls engaged in
sports by, 1) telling the community about it and engaging with
parents. I think, 2) also encouraging
participation or feedback from the community to tell the parks and rec.
commissioners what it is that girls want. For girls it’s more about what
their friends are doing. If it’s a parent who has
friends and their kids are doing it and so word of mouth is often how we spread
the game, but I would say that parks and rec. programs and PE units
really help introduce new sports to girls as well. Any time that a group of girls can try
something new together that’s when we find the biggest increase
in participation. The outreach strategy should be culturally specific depending on your different demographics. So not only addressing gender
equity but also tailoring that gender equity message to be culturally specific. As a parks director, if we’re offering co-ed and girls aren’t showing up to play, then we’re not serving them. The traditional view that if we
offered co-ed then we are offering sports to everybody, that really isn’t true
anymore and I think that and girls really want to play with girls and we’re
finding that a younger younger age and so I would implore you that
if you’re offering a co-ed sport, to offer girls and boys. You can offer the same
sport, use the same fields, but that way you will be serving those girls, and
I think you’ll find that the girls will show up. Where to Turn for More Help Fair Play for Girls in Sports focuses on
increasing equity in sports for girls of color and girls of low-income
communities. We have a website with more information and detailed toolkits to
help park and recreation departments afford girls equal opportunities to play
sports and equal treatment and benefits. Please visit today to start your
community on the path to equity. Sports are about more than fun and games. They are key to lifelong health and success on and off the field.

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