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Girls have the right to play, be safe, and win.

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Sports are an integral part of girls leading healthy lives and we recognize that girls have much to gain by early and sustained participation in sports. Though the number of girls participating in sports has steadily increased since the passage of Title IX in 1972, too many girls still encounter roadblocks that leave them sitting on the sidelines instead of sprinting toward the finish line.

February 7 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Along with our partners, we will join partners in Washington D.C. to recognize the gains made for women and girls thanks to the passage of Title IX. We will also highlight the work that needs to be done to prevent sex-based discrimination in sports. In attendance will be three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman who bravely testified as a sexual assault survivor last month, as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein who is the co-sponsor of the “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act.”

Despite the rise and prominence of female athletes, too many girls still encounter obstacles that keep them from having full access to sports. Stereotypes about what it means to “throw like a girl,” lack of access in low-income communities, harassment, and even sexual abuse serve as significant barriers to girls getting in the game. In addition, research shows that girls are more likely to have less self-confidence and greater body-image dissatisfaction than boys, and so often view their performance and abilities more negatively, keeping them from participating in sports.

Girls Inc. is tackling these challenges by providing girls at an early age the opportunity to enjoy physical activity, sports, and be adventurous. Through sports, girls not only improve and increase their physical health, but they also develop courage, confidence, self-reliance, and other critical life skills that carry well into adulthood. In addition, we continue to advocate for policies that protect girls in schools. We are urging the Department of Education to maintain guidance on schools’ legal obligations under Title IX, continue strong enforcement of the law, and continue to make public the list of schools under investigation.

Ending discrimination and abuse in athletics is something we can all root for. Learn more about Title IX rights at www.NGWSD.org.

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