USA Cycling and other sporting governance bodies must stop allowing men to compete in women’s sports.
Due to recent news in what was formerly women’s cycling, where a man named Rachel McKinnon took home first prize in yet another women’s cycling competition, we note that several governing bodies of major sporting leagues and competitions have decided to pretend that they don’t know what women are. No such governing bodies or leagues had a problem figuring out what a woman was before women were allowed to have any public sports; they knew exactly who wasn’t allowed to compete.
It’s still newsworthy when female athletes, or their teams, are paid the same as their male peers. The people handing out money haven’t previously had a problem figuring out which set of people should get smaller checks in USA Cycling, with prize money disparities only being widely addressed in international cycling competitions since 2013. In international cycling, while there are two divisions of men’s competition with a minimum wage for competitors, a minimum wage won’t be introduced for any women’s divisions until 2020.
The cycling world has also had no problem telling what a woman is for the purpose of deciding that there would be fewer women’s competitions, or that those competitions would be shorter, and have fewer stages. Beyond cycling, women’s sports in U.S. high schools and universities remain woefully underfunded and poorly-supported. Decades after Congress enacted Title IX of the Civil Rights Act in part to address this very form of structural discrimination, girls are routinely denied opportunities to compete in sports. The disparity is most severe among black girls. In fact, there has never been an African American professional road cyclist.
As proponents of women’s human rights and opportunities, including the hard-fought recognition for the need to promote sporting competitions for girls and women, we reject the premise that women should have to compete directly against men in order to have any access to athletic competitions. To argue that a man’s feelings are more important than the rights and opportunities of women and girls is sexist.
The rights, feelings, and dignity of women are being entirely ignored by the misogynist, facially discriminatory sporting bodies who govern these competitions. They don’t seem to feel that men’s sports will be affected at all by making all competitions mixed-sex matches, and have never given equal consideration to the women who have been working hard for decades to get commensurate recognition for their efforts.
Further, to claim that the International Olympic Committee -- which still can’t be bothered to run as many women’s events as men’s events in the Olympic Games -- is some objective arbiter of sex bias in sport is farcical.
This is a shameful usurpation of recognition and opportunity for female athletes. We demand a return to single-sex sporting competitions for women.