The Women’s Sports Foundation has documented through survey responses that immigrant girls are much less likely than girls who aren’t immigrants to this country to participate in organized sports. This comes as no surprise, but not many organizations apparently go around asking the question.
A report, “Go Out and Play,” released by the foundation today, says that 43 percent of immigrant girls in families surveyed participate in organized sports, while 65 percent of girls in non-immigrant families surveyed do. The report defines an “immigrant family” as one in which at least one of the parents is born outside of the United States. Interestingly, the survey showed that a slightly higher percentage of immigrant boys than non-immigrant boys are likely to participate in organized sports—75 percent versus 72 percent. Judging from who I see playing on fields here in the Washington, D.C., area, I’m guessing that a high number of those immigrant boys are participating in soccer leagues.
Recently, when I was reporting in New York City, I met Jin Dan Wang, 18, an immigrant from China and an English-language learner who is attending Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. She told me she had joined the tennis team at school. “After I joined, I felt I belonged in the school,” she said.
So schools can play an important role in helping immigrant girls to get involved in sports.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.