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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced legislation today that would require high schools to report the number of male and female students in athletic programs and the expenditures allocated to their sport teams. Under the High School Sports Data Collection Act, high schools would report these statistics to the Office of Civil Rights to ensure fairness in athletic programs across the country.

"In 1986, I sponsored the very first "National Girls and Women in Sports Day" resolution in hopes of encouraging women to participate in all levels of athletics," said Senator Snowe. "Twenty-one years later, we have made tremendous strides, but we must continue to fight for gender equality and create equal opportunities for girls and boys to excel in sports. This legislation will further improve female participation in high school athletics and cultivate a sense of self-confidence and team spirit among young women that leads to success later in life."

"For over thirty years, Title IX has opened doors by giving women and girls an equal opportunity to participate in student athletic programs. This bill will continue that tradition by allowing us to assess current opportunities for sports participation for young women, and correct any deficiencies. With this new information, we can ensure that young women all over the country have the chance to develop their athletic skills at the high school level in preparation for collegiate sports."

Unlike their collegiate counterparts, high schools are not currently required to disclose any data on equity in sports, which makes it difficult for students and parents to ensure fairness in school athletic programs. Statistics show that girls lag in participation opportunities, receipt of scholarships, and the allocated of operating and recruitment budgets. The High School Sports Data Collection Act would allow the Office of Civil Rights to assess these statistics to provide a better assessment of student participation in high school sports - the feeding ground for intercollegiate athletes.

Senators Murray and Snowe have long been stalwart supporters of Title IX, a 1972 law that ensures that there is no gender discrimination in federally funded education programs, both academic and athletic.