Hurdling Over Sex?: Sports, Science, and Diversity

Hurdling Over Sex?: Sports, Science, and Diversity

10may1:00 pm6:00 pmHurdling Over Sex?: Sports, Science, and Diversity

Event Details

Should athletic competitions at the local, national, and international levels continue to organize separate events for men and women? What are the biological and cultural reasons for this sexual separation? What other possibilities for organizing athletic competitions are both possible and desirable? This symposium will address these questions by bringing together perspectives offered by athletes and scholars of sports, gender, and biomedicine. It will consider past and recent controversies about “gender verification” testing and the International Olympic Committee’s adoption of new regulations for female athletes with hyperandrogenism in 2011. Also, it aims to provide an interdisciplinary forum to discuss the relationship between sports, science, and sex and to innovate productive ideas for how sporting institutions might implement policies that can maximize fairness and respect for human diversity.


1:00-1:15     Introduction (Eric Vilain, ISG Director + Nathan Ha, ISG Postdoctoral Fellow)
1:15-1:40     Maria Patiño, An Athlete’s Perspective on the new hyperadrenogenism policies for Elite Female Athletes
1:40-2:05    Alison Wrynn, Defining Women: Historical Perspectives on Sex Testing in Elite Sport
2:05-2:30    Alan Rogol, Sport Competition: A Developmental Approach
2:30-3:00    BREAK
3:00-3:25    Shari Dworkin, Sociocultural Reflections on Sex & Gender (In)Justice in Sport… (full title below)
3:25-4:00    Eric Vilain, Determining Eligibility of Elite Female Athletes: Is there a Biological Answer?
4:00-5:30    Panel Discussion


Professor María José Martínez Patiño, Ph.D was a high level athlete in hurdles and sprints, track and field (1980-1992). After her retirement from elite competition, she was a coach, a journalist in four Olympic Games and is currently a professor and researcher at the University of Vigo. She was a pioneer who advocated for the abolition of genetic testing of sex in high-level women’s sports, which was implemented by sports authorities in the 1960s.

Alison Wrynn, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She received her PhD in Human Biodynamics, with a specialization in the History of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, at the University of California, Berkeley. Her current research is focused on the history of the allied health fields related to kinesiology (like Athletic Training and Physical Therapy). She has also produced three large scale reports (with co-author Maureen Smith) for the Women’s Sports Foundation on gender, leadership and participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements and is the co-author of the textbook Women, Sport and Physical Activity: Challenges and Triumphs, 2nd ed. (Kendall-Hunt, 2009). She is a former International Olympic Committee, Olympic Studies Centre, Postgraduate Research Grant recipient, the current editor of the Journal of Sport History and a Fellow (#514) of the National Academy of Kinesiology.

Alan D. Rogol, MD, Ph.D, is Professor of Pediatrics at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis; and Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the MIT, and doctorates in medicine and the 1960s so many scientific and medical issues were coming before the IOC that they created a Medical Commission to deal with questions regarding altitude physiology and athletic performance, drug testing and sex testing. This presentation examines the deep seated social and cultural biases that impacted decisions about scientific and medical matters in the world of elite sport for women in the second half of the 20th male-dominated IOC and other elite sport organizations, reflected historically by the slow addition of women’s events to the Games, the limitations placed on female competitors and the lack of leadership opportunities for women, as well as sex-testing, is slow to dissipate.

Shari Dworkin, Ph.D (full lecture title: “Sociocultural Reflections on Sex & Gender (In)Justice in Sport: Gender Verification Testing & Sex Segregation”) is Associate Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of California at San Francisco (USCF). She is Affiliated Faculty at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and in Global Health Sciences (UCSF). She is the Co-Chair of Research at the UC Global Health Institute Center of Expertise on Women’s Empowerment and Health (UCGHI WHE COE). Her research is focused on gender relations and HIV prevention and on sociocultural influences on sport, gender relations and the body. She coauthored the 2003 book titled Built to Win: The Female Athlete as Cultural Icon (with Leslie Heywood, University of Minnesota Press), and she was the lead author of the 2009 book titled Body Panic: Gender, Health, and the Selling of Fitness (with Faye Linda Wachs, NYU Press). She has published over 40 articles that have appeared in numerous gender, sexuality, and health-related journals. Her forthcoming book is titled Men at Risk: Gender Relations and HIV Prevention (NYU Press). She is Associate Editor at the Archives of Sexual Behavior and serves on the Editorial Board for the Sociology of Sport journal and the Journal of Sex Research.



(Friday) 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm(GMT+00:00)


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