British Rowing is the latest sport to ban biological males from competing in female competitions at all levels, restoring fairness for women and girls!
The common-sense decision came after more than 80% of its members urged a change in policy that would ensure the fairness and integrity of the female category. A new open category will be open to anyone eligible to compete.
Meanwhile, Rowing Australia and World Rowing allow trans-identifying males to compete in elite female events, as long as they suppress their testosterone levels to an arbitrary five nanomoles per litre – still more than double that of women.
The standard for transgender participation in rowing at community, school and club levels in Australia is much lower, allowing for a 'social transition'.
In other words, a biological male could simply change their name, pronouns or appearance and be allowed to compete in female competitions, as well as having access to female change rooms and accommodation.
Last year, we sent a copy of our report ‘A Fair Playing Field: Protecting Women’s Single-Sex Sport’ to then Rowing Australia CEO Ian Robson, encouraging Rowing Australia to take a stand for its female athletes, and restrict biological males from competing in female rowing events.
In light of this recent development in Britain, we have written to Rowing Australia’s new CEO Sarah Cook, sending her a copy of our report, and inquiring as to whether Rowing Australia will also be updating its policy to ensure fairness for its female athletes.
If you haven't already, please sign and share our petition asking federal MPs to restore protections for women’s sport in Australia – while we need to keep the pressure on individual sporting bodies, it's not right that they have been left to navigate this issue on their own.
Biological sex differences matter in sport, and ignoring them negates the very purpose of establishing a separate female sporting category, namely, to provide a forum in which women and girls enjoy a sporting chance of success.
This is particularly the case in a sport like rowing, which relies on muscle strength and cardiovascular capacity – advantages that males still retain over females even after years of hormone treatment.
Rowing Australia and World Rowing must follow the lead of British Rowing and restore fairness for women and girls.
Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.
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