We urge the IAAF to withdraw the new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification.

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We, the Women Sports Africa Network Forum launched at the 7th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women & Sport in Gaborone, Botswana from 17-20 May 2018, wishes to inform the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) of the following:

  1. The IAAF’s decision to introduce Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sexual Development) for events from 400m to the mile, including 400m, hurdles races, 800m, 1500m, one-mile races and combined events over the same distances (‘Restricted Events’), has brought shame on world athletics.
  2. That the IAAF has decided to limit women athletes by deciding who can or can’t compete purely on how high their natural testosterone levels are.
  3. The decision is not only grossly discriminatory against certain women athletes, it is also a violation of human rights, and smacks of the IAAF’s attempts to reintroduce its archaic sex tests or gender verification.
  4. The IAAF has proved once again that it is guided by extreme paternalism.
  5. That despite worldwide condemnation, the IAAF has continued to justify a decision that cannot be backed by any definitive scientific evidence or common sense as far as sports performances are concerned.

As the Women Sports Africa Network Forum meeting here in Botswana, we stand united with other women from all corners of the globe against:

  • Gender discrimination and violence against women;
  • Gender stereotyping and the lack of progress in rewarding women elite performers the same as their male counterparts; and
  • Women leaders struggling to break through into the governance structures at international, continental, national and local sporting levels.

We, the undersigned, urge the IAAF to:

  1. Immediately withdraw the new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification altogether as it discriminates against women athletes and targets those from the Global South.
  2. Issue a worldwide statement offering an unequivocal apology to those women athletes that were specifically targeted by this heinous decision.
  3. Undergo gender and cultural sensitivity training.
  4. Embark on an education campaign around gender discrimination and inequality.


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