WSF Responds to IAAF’s Proposed Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification

Published on April 26th, 2018

April 26, 2018: The new policy issued by the IAAF, the international governing body for track and field, regarding eligibility regulations for female classification is discriminatory.  It is the position of the Women’s Sports Foundation that eligibility standards for women’s sports that require an athlete to demonstrate particular hormone levels perpetuate the historical discrimination that has been prevalent in women’s sports for decades and leads to unwarranted invasions of privacy not only for athletes with high testosterone levels, but any athlete whose femininity is questioned.

There is no reliable scientific evidence to support the IAAF’s claim that variations in female testosterone levels lead to a competitive advantage in the sporting events that would fall under the regulation. In fact, the regulation is logically flawed, assuming that testosterone levels are solely accountable for any competitive edge, ignoring genetic variations in height and weight, or other natural variations in athletic skill. Not to mention that it enforces a double standard, since widely-varying levels of testosterone among male athletes do not raise fairness concerns, but are treated as part of the normal variations among the field of competitors.

And finally, such a regulation would force women to choose between undergoing medically unnecessary hormone treatment, competing against men, or forgoing their international competitive careers.