Why Women’s and Girls’ Sports Matter

Why Women’s and Girls’ Sports Matter

At XX-XY Athletics we believe that maintaining gender categories in sports is necessary to ensure fairness, a level playing field and equal opportunity for girls and women to participate – and win! – while accessing the educational opportunities that come with participating in sports. 

Furthermore, women’s sports play a crucial role in promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls.

Title IX, passed in 1972, was the landmark civil rights law which banned sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. And for all of its broad applications, Title IX is most famous for its impact on women and girls in sports.

As of 1972 there were about 300,000 women and girls playing college and high school sports in the U.S. Female athletes received only 2 percent of college athletic budgets and college scholarships for women didn’t exist.

But by 2012, the 40th anniversary of Title IX’s passing, the number of girls participating in high school sports had risen by a factor of ten. More than three million girls and young women were competing in high school sports. By 2016, one in five girls in the U.S. played sports. Before Title IX passed, the number was one in twenty-seven.

More girls and young women participating in sports promoted gender equality and their overall well-being and empowerment.

Successful female athletes serve as role models for young girls. When girls see women excelling in sports, they realize they too can achieve greatness, on and off the field.

Participation in sports teaches self-reliance and resilience and builds a growth mindset for learning and development. Through athletics, we learn that if we work hard at something, we might not be able to do it yet, but if we keep trying, we can get better. We can develop mastery and we learn not to give up. 

Engaging in sports has numerous physical and mental health benefits as well. Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence, self-esteem, and lower levels of depression.  High school girls who play sports get higher grades and are more likely to graduate from high school and their risk of an unintended pregnancy is lowered. Girls and women who play sports develop a more positive body image and a more positive outlook overall.

Safety and fairness in women’s and girls’ sports are critical to continue to promote participation. When trans-identified male athletes are permitted to play on women’s teams, women’s safety can be put at risk. In the case of contact team sports like basketball and volleyball, the fact that trans identified male athletes are bigger and stronger on average, puts women at real risk of serious injury when contact occurs. 

And the physical advantages that trans-identified male athletes retain creates an unequal playing field overall, reducing girls and women’s opportunities to win or just come off the bench to play. A smaller woman without the physical advantages of a male, will find herself on the bench more often, or perhaps not even making the team.

Without a fair playing field, over time, girls and women will decline to participate. Why would you if you had no chance at winning? Or making the team? Or getting any time on the field? If it wasn’t fair? If your health and safety were put at risk in competing against bigger and stronger trans identified male athletes?

Everything gained from Title IX is at risk if we fail to protect girls and women’s sports by keeping them 100% female.

As someone who benefited enormously from Title IX when I began gymnastics back in 1975 – just a few years after Title IX became law – I won’t let it go without a fight. All girls and women deserve the opportunity to thrive in athletics. Every girl deserves the emotional, physical and psychological development that participation in sports provides. If you believe in women’s equality, and equality of opportunity, stand with me. Stand with us.

Jennifer Sey
Founder, XX-XY Athletics

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