Binary soccer field

The Gender Binary in International Sporting Regulations: Legal gender categories as producers of (in)equalities in sports

Lena Holzer
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Room P3 506 | Maison de la paix, Geneva

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International sports competitions are usually divided into women’s and men’s events. This gender division has long been considered as "natural", but the recently decided Caster Semenya case at the Court of Arbitration of Sports exposed the socially constructed nature of gender categories in sports. It created a public debate on the reasons why sports are gender divided in the first place and which role the gender division performs in the fight for gender equality, including the acceptance of intersex and trans persons. This presentation examines the gender binary in international sports law by discussing current definitions of "sportswoman" or "sportsman" and their effects on gender politics.

About the author

Lena Holzer is a PhD student in International Law, pursuing a minor degree in International Relations and Political Science, at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. She is affiliated with the IHEID Gender Centre and focuses in her work on the rights of LGBTIQ persons and the gender binary in international law. In addition to her current work as Teaching Assistant at IHEID, she previously worked as consultant for ILGA-Europe and gained experience with various other human rights institutions.

Within the Gender Seminar Series

The purpose of this seminar is to offer a platform of exchange for students, doctoral students in particular, whose research includes a gender perspective. During this monthly series, students will have the opportunity to discuss their work, meet peers from different disciplines at the Graduate Institute, as well as interact with guest speakers and faculty members.