Lawsuit claims female athletes receive unequal treatment

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of two female high school athletes, claiming they are being unequally treated based on their gender.

The lawsuit filed Thursday against the state Department of Education and the Oahu Interscholastic Association claims the athletes at Campbell “experience grossly unequal treatment, benefits and opportunities in relation to male athletes.”

The school does not have a locker room facility for female athletes, so the girls must find alternative places to change into uniforms, like teachers’ closets, restrooms at fast food restaurants or on the field, according to the suit. To use the restroom, they must run back to the campus gym, use “decrepit Porta-Potties” or go behind the bushes.

“I know from talking to our plaintiffs, it made them feel like they weren’t valued,” said Joshua Wisch, ACLU of Hawaii executive director. “It made them feel like they were second-class compared to the boys, which is ridiculous.”

The suit also points out several other disparities between male and female athletes, including game scheduling, travel opportunities, sports promotion and funding for coaching.

The state Department of Education was informed decades ago that it was not in compliance with Title IX, the federal law barring gender discrimination.

“The DOE said it was working to close those gaps. But what followed was four decades of delay in providing female athletes with treatment, benefits, and opportunities equal to those received by male athletes as required by Title IX,” the lawsuit said.

The department declined to comment, citing the pending litigation and noting it has not yet been served with the lawsuit.


  1. Former OIA Insider December 8, 2018 7:13 am

    I understand what the complaint is. BUT….Every school’s baseball/softball field is pretty out there and usually the closet bathroom is the gym or football field. Most schools that created softball their own field had to do so with the existing space and did so in the baseball outfield. If they were using the baseball field closer to restrooms, then they’d complain about not having their own field. Game scheduling, sports that don’t have lights need to start earlier (cross country, baseball, softball) but it is the same for the male counterpart sport. Travel opportunities? That’s on the head coach to plan a preseason trip or qualify for states in a year that it is held on a neighbor island. Funding for coaches it is set by length of season, obviously football coaches get more because it is the longest season, but again pay across the gender equal sports (basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, track, wrestling, cross country, etc) are the same.

  2. GED December 8, 2018 10:49 am

    Campbell softball and baseball fields about the same place on campus, near ILIMA Int. so I don’t see the difference there. In general, Football will always make gender equity unfair…

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