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Save Womens’ Sports Australasia is scathing of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) ongoing failure to develop a solution for the inclusion of transwomen in sports that also balances the rights of female athletes to safety and fair competition.

Spokeswoman Ro Edge says the IOC has failed all female athletes.

“The IOC decision released last week ignores the wealth of scientific evidence, and common sense, that males have a competitive advantage against females in almost all sports. It has effectively eliminated the female category in sports by now allowing any male to compete in the female category on the basis only of “self-identification” as a woman.

“Lacking the integrity and moral courage to do the right thing, the IOC has passed the problem on how to include transwomen in sports to all the International Federations to figure out. It’s a complete cop out and is especially disappointing given the huge resources and expertise the IOC has at its disposal.”

“Rather than simply protecting the female category in sports and creating an open category for transgender athletes, the IOC has developed an unworkable framework that is unfair to female athletes.

Former long distance New Zealand runner Allison Roe MBE is also high critical of the IOC’s framework.  “It wasn’t that long ago that women around the globe stood up for and claimed their own sporting categories in order to participate fairly and to be recognised in sport.  By nature women are intrinsically kind and inclusive but these attributes are now being prayed on, along with women’s rights to fair competition being stifled.  Now women are having to literally ‘fight’ to protect their own women’s category”.

Going forward, in order to restrict a male from competing as a female, an individual sporting body will have to provide its own “robust and peer-reviewed research” to prove that women will be unfairly disadvantaged.

“This is indefensible. It ignores all the research that has already been done and it means males can compete against women until each individual sport has gathered sufficient evidence to prove what we all know, and that is that puberty gives males physical advantages, most of which are not mitigated by testosterone suppression (1).

“It’s clear the IOC hasn’t been able to figure out how to allow the inclusion of transwomen in the female category without it impacting fairness and safety for female athletes – and that’s because it is an impossible task.

Ms Edge says sport has an obligation to manage three imperatives – fairness, safety, and inclusion. The sports must choose which of these imperatives it will prioritise. World Rugby chose safety as their priority, followed by fairness and then inclusion.

The IOC Transgender Framework prioritises inclusion. It states that “everyone, regardless of gender identity, should be able to participate in sport safely and without prejudice”.

“While no one should disagree with that, the real question is, should a person have the right to participate in any category they choose?

We, and many others, say no. In the same way that a heavy weight boxer is not allowed to self-identify into the feather weight category, a male, regardless of their gender identity, should not be allowed to self-identify into the female category. Gender identities don’t play sports. Sexed bodies do.

Ultimately, if inclusion is the overriding goal, then sex-based categories are a nonsense and the ability for women to pursue fair and safe competition is eliminated.

“The IOC doesn’t seem to care about fairness, safety or competition in sport and is happy to discriminate against women.”

Ms Edge says the IOC has not released any of its guidance – including who it spoke with and research gathered – in developing the framework. “It is that the IOC has ignored scientists, best evidence, and women’s sports advocacy groups worldwide.”

Ro Edge


Save Women’s Sports Australasia



26th November 2021 - Womens Sports Group Blasts IOC on Trans Athlete Failure

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