Sex Discrimination in Sport: An Update

Published February 25, 2009

By Hilary Findlay

In one legal ruling, an all female fitness club is not required to provide membership to a man, yet in another, a scholastic hockey league is required to allow a female player onto a boy’s team. Such seemingly contradictory decisions can leave sport leaders scratching their heads about what might, and might not, constitute sex discrimination in sport.

Commissioned by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) and written by Hilary Findlay and Rachel Corbett of the Centre for Sport and Law, this report is a valuable, up-to-date legal snapshot of the ‘lay of the land’ as it applies to sex discrimination in Canada today. This is the first comprehensive examination of the subject since 1993 when CAAWS, in collaboration with the Government of Canada, published its first report on gender equity in sport after the landmark ruling Blainey v. Ontario Hockey Association.

The report “Sex Discrimination in Sport – An Update” covers developments over the 25 years since the Blainey ruling. Consistent with the approach of the Centre for Sport and Law, the report illustrates the legal principles by applying them to real-life discrimination scenarios. Although it covers a complex legal subject, the report is very readable and can be easily understood by non-lawyers.

This report is essential for every sport administrator seeking to understand equity and discrimination law as it pertains to the participation of females in sport. Here is a brief executive summary of the report and the full report is 17 pages long.

Originally published: Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter (2009) Vol. 5(1)

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