Independent Council on Women’s Sport Conference

The Independent Council on Women’s Sport (ICONS) held a conference in the US last week, gathering female athletes, lawyers, doctors and concerned citizens to discuss the impact of males appropriating female stereotypes in sport.

Athletes directly affected by males in their sports such as Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, Kylee Alons and Jennifer Sey shared their emotional stories and encouraged other athletes to speak up. 

They were joined by former Olympians such as Sharron Davies who shared their deep concerns about policies that allow males to steal women’s places and prizes in sport. When asked how Davies became involved in this battle and why, she said it happened back in 2015 when she noticed the change in rules. 

I knew it was like a train coming towards us. I don’t think a lot of people recognised it at that particular time. But because of my experience with the East Germans, having raced them for 20 years, and the IOC ignored their total and utter dominance, and did nothing about it, I just knew that had never been on the side of female athletes. They were never going to be on the side of female athletes. So it was a matter of stepping up and just highlighting what was going on. It was extremely difficult. 

We wrote a letter in 2017 which went to the IOC. It had sixty British Olympic medallists on it, of which only 2 or 3 have ever put their head above the parapet, and every single one of those are household names. Just to say please do the science first, they just totally and utterly ignored it.

Dr Helen Joyce, Dr Colin Wright, Dr Emma Hilton, Dr Ross Tucker and other medical practitioners and experts shared how detrimental it is to women when males are permitted to encroach on female spaces by claiming to be women. They shared the science that is being ignored in favour of the feelings of a few men who demand to be called women.

Australia’s Ro Edge and Katherine Deves also contributed to the conference.

You can watch all of the inspiring and informative sessions here