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The new IOC and IAAF policies on female eligibility: old emperor, new clothes?

Davis, Paul and Edwards, L. (2015) The new IOC and IAAF policies on female eligibility: old emperor, new clothes? Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 8 (1). pp. 44-56. ISSN 1751-1321

Item Type: Article


The Caster Semenya debacle touched off by the 2009 Berlin World Athletics Championships resulted finally in IOC and IAAF abandonment of sex testing, which gave way to procedures that make female competition eligibility dependent upon the level of serum testosterone, which must be below the male range or instrumentally countered by androgen resistance. We argue that the new policy is unsustainable because (i) the testosterone-performance connection it posits is uncompelling; (ii) testosterone-induced female advantage is not ipso facto unfair advantage; (iii) the new policy reflects the gender policing impulses endemic to sport as well as the broader cultural impulses to monstrify women and to doctor women who have nothing wrong with them; (iv) female–male performance disparities are not the only reason for sex-segregated sport, but co-exist with respectable cultural and practical reasons, which (v) provide a powerful case for allowing athletes to compete in the sex category congruent with their gender identity.

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Depositing User: Paula Normington


Item ID: 6294
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ISSN: 1751-1321
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ORCID for Paul Davis: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 08:44
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 13:01


Author: Paul Davis ORCID iD
Author: L. Edwards

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Sciences > Sport Sciences

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