Lead Plaintiff Ashley Badis of Hawai’i Title IX Case Wins a Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award

Ashley Badis, lead plaintiff in Title IX case in Hawai'i
Ashley Badis, lead plaintiff in Title IX case in Hawai'i | Photo by New York Times

By Sophia Ureta-Fulan, Law Clerk at Legal Aid at Work and rising 3L at UC Law San Francisco

Ashley Badis, lead plaintiff in a Title IX case against the Hawai’i Department of Education (DOE), has won a Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award. The award honors Ashley’s use of sports as a catalyst for change and her positive impact on athletics.

Ashley, a current student-athlete at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, has been integral in bringing attention to gender inequalities for female athletes at her former high school, James Campbell High School (Campbell). Before bringing the case, Ashley and her teammates sought accountability directly from Campbell administrators for the lack of facilities she and other female athletes received. In response to their pleas to the administration for change, the girls were retaliated against – the school threatened to cancel their season altogether. They then sought legal representation as a catalyst for changing disparities for girls throughout the Campbell athletic program. The case also seeks accountability for the retaliation Ashley and the other female athletes experienced when they spoke up about gender discrimination.

Ashley is one of four Campbell female athletes involved as class representatives in the lawsuit. She and her co-plaintiffs seek to end discrimination against all present and future female athletes at Campbell through a Title IX compliance case. The lawsuit seeks to hold the Hawai’i Department of Education (DOE) and Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) accountable for necessary improvements to athletic opportunities, treatment, and benefits for female athletes in Hawaii. Ashley and her teammates’ landmark case received coverage by the New York Times in October 2022.

Since then, Ashley continues to contribute to increasing gender equity in school sports. She recently assisted the Aspen Institute and Society Program with its School Sports Equity Toolkit. The toolkit includes strategies for advocacy, action, and change. The toolkit is easily accessible online for free use by underrepresented populations in pursuit of increased sport opportunities, equipment, and resources.

Ashley and her co-plaintiffs are represented in partnership by Legal Aid at Work (LAAW), the ACLU of Hawai’i, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. The case is ongoing with trial scheduled to begin later this year.

Legal Aid at Work applauds Ashley’s commitment to increasing gender equity in sports and congratulates her on her well-deserved, Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award.

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