Athletics Equity for Girls
House Bill 432: School Athletics Equity Act
The School Athletics Equity Act or HB 432 was unanimously passed by the New Mexico Legislature and signed into law by Governor Richardson on April 7, 2009. Introduced by Representative Danice Picraux and heavily advocated for by the Southwest Women’s Law Center, the law is intended to promote equal athletics opportunities for girls and boys in New Mexico’s public schools. HB 432 takes effect in August of 2011. For a copy of the act, click here.
Why is the School Athletics Equity Act necessary?
Congress passed a law called Title IX in 1972 outlawing sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. In order to comply with federal law and be eligible for federal funding, public schools must offer equal athletics opportunities for girls and boys. In New Mexico, our schools do not collect data regarding compliance with Title IX until there is an expensive federal civil rights investigation. The School Athletics Equity Act seeks to correct this, giving schools and local communities the information they need to promote equal opportunity in their schools’ sports programs.
What is the purpose of the School Athletics Equity Act ?
- To increase athletics opportunities for girls in New Mexico public schools.
- To provide schools and communities the information they need to evaluate their compliance with Title IX and avoid expensive federal investigations.
- To give local authorities, parents, coaches, students and communities the information needed to help them work collaboratively to increase athletics opportunities for girls.
What does the School Athletics Equity Act do?
- Authorizes the Public Education Department (PED) to seek information from local schools on their Title IX compliance.
- Requires public schools to report information on athletics opportunities, including what they spend on athletics programs for boys and girls.
- Promotes local community engagement by making available to parents, coaches and students information on their schools’ level of compliance with Title IX.
- Surveys public school students so that schools can create sports opportunities that match student interest.
- Informs the NM Legislature about Title IX compliance by public schools in PED’s annual report.
How does equal athletic opportunity help New Mexico’s students?
- Girls who play sports delay sexual activity, are less likely to become pregnant, are more likely to stay in school, and do better in non-sports areas like science.
- Girls’ athletic participation protects against obesity, heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis.
Resources for Athletics Equity for Girls
For a summary on your rights and possible action steps, go to SWLC’s “Get In the Game” brochure, click here.
For the National Women’s Law Center’s “Breaking Down Barriers: A Legal Guide on Title IX and Athletics Opportunities”, click here.
For more information on athletics’ social and physical benefits for girls, click here.
Women’s Sports Foundation report “Her Life Depends on It II: Sport, Physical Activity, and the Health and Well-Being of American Girls and Women” (Dec 2009)
You can also seek guidance or file a formal complaint by contacting your local chapter of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, located in Denver, CO.
U.S. Office of Civil Rights
1244 Speer Boulevard
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
Denver, CO 80204
Tel.: (303) 844-5695
Fax: (303) 844-4303
(Serving Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming)
Other Links for Information on Athletics Equity and Title IX
California Women’s Law Center
Women’s Law Project
Women’s Sports Foundation
Press Coverage on the New Mexico School Athletics Equity Act
Sports Equality Issues Linger Long After Law
By Maggie Shepard, Associated Press
March 11, 2009
NM Governor signs Sports Equity Bill into law
By Heather Shore, New Mexico Sports Examiner
April 8, 2009
Keeping Score on Title IX: One legislator drives New Mexico
to size up gender equity in school sports
By Sarah M. Kramer, The Alibi
April 16 - 22, 2009