IOC urged to uphold ‘fundamental fairness’ for female athletes

Academics have slammed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for failing to “protect fairness for female athletes” by ignoring men’s “biological advantages” over women.

In a paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 26 academics criticised the IOC’s Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination framework for claiming there should be “no presumption of advantage” on the basis of biological or physiological characteristics.

Instead, they urged the Committee to reflect “scientific evidence and fundamental principles of fair competition” by advising governing bodies to bar athletes who have experienced male puberty from women’s elite and grassroots sports.


The academics emphasised: “There is currently no evidence that testosterone suppression in transgender women can reverse male development and negate male advantages. In contrast, there is convincing evidence that the male advantage persists even when testosterone is suppressed.”

They explained that higher testosterone levels during male puberty contribute to “integral” differences such as larger bones and lung capacity, and that simply monitoring current levels “ignores permanent and long-lasting physical and physiological advantages”.

there is convincing evidence that the male advantage persists even when testosterone is suppressed

Their paper urged the IOC to consider the views of female athletes, many of whom have “expressed fearfulness in voicing their concerns within their sporting organisations” over their “resistance to eligibility for female categories based on gender identity rather than sex”.

“Female athletes should be able to speak freely, without fear of reprisal or punishment.”

‘Inherent unfairness’

Last month, the Culture Secretary urged sporting bodies to carefully consider the “inherent unfairness” of allowing biological men to participate in women’s sport.

Speaking to Sky News, Lucy Frazer MP said: “I think it’s very important that women are able to compete against women and there’s an inherent unfairness, that if you’re not biologically a woman, you have a competitive advantage.

“And I think a number of sports have looked at this very carefully and come to the decision that it’s not appropriate to have women competing against people who are not biologically women. We’ve seen that in rowing. We’ve seen that in swimming. And I would encourage other sporting bodies to look at that very carefully.”

Frazer made the comments in reference to the remit of a new football regulator under the Government’s Football Governance Bill.

Also see:

Women ‘injured, abused and devastated’ as men invade their sports

Parkrun blasted for removing women’s records instead of ending gender self-ID

USA boxing trans policy allows men to fight women

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