Data: Indiana Ranks Low in High School Sports Gender Equity

By Grace Watkins and Cassidy McDonald • April 6th, 2017

The overall picture of gender equity in high school sports is bleak, according to an analysis of Department of Education data.

The 2012 data suggest that 28 percent of all public high schools have large gender gaps in their sports programs. A “large” gender gap is defined as having significantly more boys receive spots on sports teams than girls (relative to the overall distribution of gender in the school).

The 10 worst states for gender equity are all in the South. Only six states have fewer than 10 percent of public high schools with large gender gaps.

Indiana has the 35th worst ranking. 28 percent of its public high schools have large gender gaps. The good news is that Indiana improved four percent from the 2010-11 school year to the 2011-12 school year. –– Grace Watkins

Title IX and Girls High School Sports

“There’s no crying in baseball.”

That’s the frequently cited tagline from the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” which tells the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, a wartime effort to fill the gap in men’s baseball with women’s teams.

But the film includes a lesser-known line that’s perhaps even more poignant today. Coach Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) says to Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) when she considers quitting: “Sneaking out like this, quitting, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up. You can’t deny that.”

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the statute that prohibited discrimination in college and high school athletics and allowed millions of women to participate in sports. (And as Dugan would say, helped them learn what “lights them up.”)

Take a look at what has changed, and check out the state of high school women’s athletics in Indiana today. — Cassidy McDonald