From Blainey to Pasternak: Are We Making Progress?

Published May 15, 2008

Today, as a general rule, girls will be permitted to play on boys’ teams unless there is a reasonable justification for segregating activity on the basis of their sex. The question at the root of this paper is whether the judicial consideration of gender discrimination cases in sport has actually enhanced opportunities for girls and women to participate in sport in this country. It is interesting that we have two cases, very similar factually, occurring some two decades apart that can act as bookends for this analysis. The author suggests that legal recourse, particularly through the human rights process, has not served the state of girls' and women’s sport particularly well. Both Blainey and Pasternak remind us that there are a multitude of underlying factors that promote the marginalization of females in sport.

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