It’s the Girls’ Turn to Play!
The fall and winter season ushers in many sports including football, basketball, volleyball, and in some chilly California Recreation and Park Districts hockey. I know most of our Districts are gearing up to host league play for kids and adults for the first time in almost two years. As a female athlete I love playing all kind of sports and growing up in the 70’s and 80’s there weren’t many options for me to play with other girls until I was in High School. One of my missions in recreation is to make sure that girls have equal opportunities to play sports as the boys. Did you know that girls who play sports have higher self-esteem, greater physical fitness, and make healthier decision about drugs, alcohol, and relationships? Studies have also shown that female high school athletes earn higher wages as adults in the workplace.
In 2004, the California Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law AB 2404 to expand opportunities for girls to play sports in “community parks and recreation.” As you dust off your checklists and sports equipment have you taken inventory of how you are serving the girls in your District? AB 2404 identifies twelve different factors to determine whether discrimination exists in local sports programming. For more see Government Code section 53080.
Have you thought about doing things differently as you transition back to league play to better serve all genders in your youth sports programs? The pandemic pause on many of our programs has given us the opportunity to reset and do things differently than before. This is a perfect opportunity to offer girls-only divisions to encourage participation by girls in your District.
When I joined Pleasant Hill Rec and Park, I was surprised to learn that recreation sports leagues for flag football and basketball were co-ed and that girls made up only 13% of our basketball league which is less than 20 girls. I knew there were more than 20 girls that wanted to play basketball, as it is the greatest sport ever invented. In 2017 we added a girl’s division for all age groups and now have 150 girls participating. If you want help in assessing your current sports programs or don’t know where to start, I’m available to assist. This is one of my passions and I am committed to ensuring that all Districts have the tools to provide equal access to girls for sports.
Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District