South African runner Caster Semenya,is allowed to return to professional competition after nearly a year of being subjected to gender testing by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Colorlines reports that the IAAF ruled that Semenya is "female-enough" and can retain her gold medals after months of dehumanizing gender tests and public scrutiny. According to the Associated Press, Semenya said, "I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being" in a statement released yesterday.
Semenya's lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler said, "We are delighted that Caster is finally being permitted to compete with other women, as is her legal and natural right...Hopefully, this resolution will set a precedent so that no female athlete in the future will have to experience the long delays and public scrutiny which Caster has been forced to endure," reported the Associated Press.
The Associated Press reports Semenya plans to return to competition in Finland at the Lappeenranta Games on July 15.
The fact that the IAAF conducted a gender test on Semenya was leaked to the media just prior the 800 meter race at the World Championships in Berlin in August 2009, where she won the gold medal. According to the BBC, the gender test became public only because a related fax was sent to the incorrect person. The IAAF reportedly initiated the test because of previous testing indicating Semenya has elevated testosterone levels and because of her quick improvement in performance prior to bursting onto the national athletic scene.
The practice of sex testing began in Eastern Europe in the 1960s. The first time Olympic athletes were tested was at the 1968 Mexico City Games. At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, eight athletes failed the tests, but were later cleared. A variety of concerns led the International Olympic Committee to stop requiring the tests in 1999. Several female athletes, including runners Santhi Soundarajan of India and Ewar Kobukkowska of Poland have been stripped of their medals after failing sex tests. Testing is a controversial practice in athletics, in part because chromosomal abnormalities may cause women to fail the tests, even though they may have no competitive advantages.
Media Resources: International Association of Athletics Federation 7/6/10; Associated Press 3/30/10, 7/6/10, 7/8/20; BBC 8/25/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/25/09; Colorlines 7/6/10
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .
4/29/2015 Hillary Clinton Calls for Criminal Justice Reform and an End to Mass Incarceration - Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 18th Annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum today, addressing directly criminal justice reforms she would like to see to prevent another "incarceration generation."
"It's time the end the era of mass incarceration," Clinton declared to much applause, citing statistics about the disproportionately higher rate of incarceration that black men in America face. . . .