LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — After three years of researching and strategizing, the Michigan Task Force on Women in Sports has released recommendations to promote opportunities for girls in sports.

The task force, chaired by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, presented a preview of its recommendations at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Women and girls often build stronger, more successful teams and organizations, and gain skills that benefit them and everyone when they move into leadership roles in all sectors of society. That’s why it’s critical that women and girls in Michigan are provided what they deserve – high quality and equitable opportunities to participate in sports as athletes, coaches, and administrators.”

Secratary of State Jocelyn Benson

The three initial recommendations are:

  1. Modernize and expand upon Federal Title IX laws with increased sports-specific protections, compliance, and accountability.
    • The Task Force’s research found that Title IX laws have fallen short of achieving equity in numerous ways, and recommends law, policy, training and monitoring all be used to increase accountability.
  2. Invest in talent and leadership pathways that explicitly support the growth of women and girls in and through sports.
    • Women are underrepresented as staff and athletes of professional sports teams and in sports leadership at colleges and universities.
    • The Task Force suggests increasing internships, mentorship and gender bias awareness and training.
  3. Engage the public, youth sports and business communities to support solutions for equitable opportunities for girls and women at all levels of sports.
    • With public, individual and business funding, organizations that utilize best practices can be supported and interest in a professional women’s sports team could be bolstered.

My teammates and I learned very early that we had to advocate for ourselves because no one else would. Girls and women today need advocates, too, to close gaps in equity, pay, funding, and most importantly respect. That’s why the work of this Task Force is critical, and why leaders in all sectors should advance its recommendations.”

Mia Hamm, two-time Olympic gold-medal winning soccer player

The Task Force will release a full report with all recommendations later in June.