All forms of discrimination against women in sports are a result of deeply-rooted sexism

All forms of discrimination against women in sports have been found to be based on deep-rooted sexism in sports. This has been shown by studies of documents on gender-based violence in sports from developed European countries. The different manifestations of this sexism are, for example, the rules to control the participation of intersex women in sports competitions, the various forms of discrimination and exclusion, as well as the language of hatred towards lesbian and bisexual women, related to the acceptance of heterosexuality as the norm. The study also reveals a little-known side of the so-called “protection” of women in sports, which, practically, happens at the expense of limiting transgender women from participating in professional sports. The concept of “protecting” women in sports is an ideological base for violence, harassment, and hate speech directed at trans women at all levels of participation in sports.

A report from the study on gender-based violence in sports initiated by the European Commission shows that child protection policies in several member states include legal provisions to protect children and young people from sexual violence in sports. Such norms are usually assessing the suitability of (potential) employees and/or volunteers to carry out functions related to direct work with children, and prohibiting certain people (for example those convicted of certain crimes) from working with children. This is a reason to conclude that sexual violence in sports as a form of gender-based violence is mainly viewed through the prism of sexual violence against children and young people. As an example, the study also states that national child protection policies in Cyprus, Romania and the UK point to sport as an area where sexual abuse of children is likely to occur. Also, the research reveals that most national policies to combat gender-based violence in sports outline the need for a holistic approach to addressing the problem of sexual violence against children and youngsters (including bullying) in sport. These policies usually target sports organizations (including federations and clubs), but their implementation is not mandatory in most cases. It is also worth noting that existing policies rarely mention homophobic violence in sport.