What Does it Mean to be a Woman in Sports? An Analysis of the Jurisprudence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Holzer, Lena. 2020. What Does it Mean to be a Woman in Sports? An Analysis of the Jurisprudence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Human Rights Law Review, 20(3), pp. 387-411. ISSN 1461-7781 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the definition of ‘sportswoman’ as put forward in the Caster Semenya case (2019) and the Dutee Chand case (2015) before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It analyses the structural and discursive factors that made it possible for the CAS to endorse a definition that reduces sex and gender to a matter concerning testosterone. By relying on the concept of intersectionality and analytical sensibilities from Critical Legal Studies, the article shows that framing the cases as a matter of scientific dispute, instead of as concerning human rights, significantly influenced the CAS decisions. Moreover, structural elements of international sports law, such as the lack of knowledge of human rights among CAS arbitrators and a history of institutionalising gendered and racialised body norms through sporting regulations, further aided the affirmation of the ‘testosterone rules’.

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This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Human Rights Law Review following peer review. The version of record is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngaa020.


human rights, women, sport, intersex variation, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Mokgadi Caster Semenya v International Association of Athletics Federations; Dutee Chand v International Association of Athletics Federations

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2 September 2020Published Online
September 2020Published

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17 Nov 2022 15:41

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2023 01:27

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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