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Using the Law to Promote Gender Equality in Sport

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In the United Kingdom, UK Sport is the organization that directs the development of sports programs. UK Sport has a firm policy concerning equality within sports, including gender equality. The released statement from the organization is as follows:     Equity is about recognizing and removing the barriers faced by people involved or wanting to be involved in sport. It is about changing the culture of sport to one that values diversity and enables the full involvement of disadvantaged groups in every aspect of the sport. (Honeybourne, 2005, p. 10). The intent of UK sport is to promote environments of sport that are inclusive and without prejudicial shadows that taint the true nature of play.

With various support of different laws that pertain to the creation of a more equitable playing field for participation, UK Sport has worked to provide more opportunities that include both genders. Although most sports are still classified as the male type or the female type, the efforts are making sure that provision is made for separate but equal sporting participation is made through cooperation with law-making authorities.

In the United States, a law was passed that addressed this issue but left its interpretation vague and ambiguous. In 1972 Title IX was passed saying that “ No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal funding. ” (Smith, 2010, p. 101). While open to various degrees of understanding, essentially this law requires that equal access be granted to members of both genders. In other words, it does not say that all teams that are traditionally male must accept female players, but it does suggest that if there is a male team a female team must also exist with equal opportunities.

However, the ambiguity of the law creates just that flaw. That the interpretation may or may not support the actuality of how the teams may exist within the educational institution.

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