4th December 2020

End Abusive Sex Testing for Women Athletes

• Tests Violate Rights, Ruin Lives
• Women athletes, largely from the Global South, are targeted and harmed by “sex testing” regulations.
• Women being observed under the regulations, and in some cases being compelled to undergo a medical examination, amounts to policing women’s bodies based on arbitrary definitions of femininity and racial stereotypes.
• Sport governing bodies – including World Athletics and the International Olympic Committee – should remove all regulations that require medically unnecessary interventions for continuing eligibility.

Women track and field athletes, largely from the Global South, are abused and harmed by “sex testing” regulations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The regulations target women in running events between 400 meters and one mile, and compel women they target to undergo medical interventions or be forced out of competition. The 120-page report, “‘They’re Chasing Us Away from Sport’: Human Rights Violations in Sex Testing of Elite Women Athletes,” documents the experiences of more than a dozen women athletes from the Global South who have been affected by sex testing regulations. Human Rights watch found that global regulations that encourage discrimination, surveillance, and coerced medical intervention on women athletes result in physical and psychological injury and economic hardship. The International Olympic Committee – the supreme body in global sports – is developing guidelines to address human rights violations caused by sex testing policies.

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