Dr Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play For Women, has been shortlisted for an award by Everything in Sport, Women’s edition. The nomination, in the education category, is for the organisation’s work to raise awareness and understanding of the physical performance differences between males and females, and the importance of maintaining the female sex category to ensure meaningful competition and safety for women in sport.
This comes as transgender inclusion rules in sport are under increasing scrutiny. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the first Olympics permitting male athletes who have had no surgical intervention to compete as women. In recent months there has been an implicit acknowledgement that the current approach is neither inclusive nor fair for women and girls.
The IOC is currently revisiting its eligibility policy that allows male-born transgender athletes to compete in the women’s category if they can reduce levels of their male sex hormone testosterone for 12 months prior to competition. It is reported that the IOC will push the issue back to individual sports federations to make their own sport-specific rules – a clear sign that the current rule is inadequate and unfair.
Dr Williams was recently asked to participate in the first meeting of International Federations on transgender eligibility, hosted by the IAAF in Switzerland on 19th October, where representatives heard from a range of invited experts. Here she called for rules permitting the inclusion of transwomen in female sport to be suspended, pending more scientific research. A consensus was reached that inclusion of transwomen within the female category should only be promoted with meaningful eligibility standards that do not create intolerable unfairness.
Dr Williams commented “It is presently unclear how to successfully resolve the tension between the desire for transgender inclusion into the female category and the need to maintain fair, safe and meaningful competition in female sport. Until we know if or how this can be achieved fairness must be prioritised and women’s sport reserved for females only”.
For the sports award she is up against four other nominees including Kate Dale, Strategic Communicator at Sport England responsible for #ThisGirlCan and Barbara Slater OBE, Director of BBC Sport.
Dr Williams said, “We’re delighted to have this recognition, because it shows that women have legitimate concerns, and that it is not a done deal. We are proud to be working with the sports governing bodies both globally and here in the UK as they develop more robust policies.”
A full list of award categories and nominees is at https://everythinginsport.com/awards/
The award winners will be announced on 4th December.
PRESS RELEASE 21st November 2019
Notes for editors:
Fair Play For Women is a campaigning and consultancy group which raises awareness, provides evidence and analysis, and supports policy-makers to protect the sex-based rights of women and girls.
For further information or comment please contact:
Dr Nicola Williams, Director Fair Play For Women