When 18-year-old South African runner Caster Semenya burst onto the world stage in 2009, her championship was not celebrated, but marred by doubt, her personal medical records leaked to the international media. The public scrutiny of her body, driven by racism and sexism, questioning the most fundamental right of who she is, a great champion. The International Amateur Athletics Federation (now World Athletics) ruled that targeted female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies in order to compete. Their naturally high androgen levels, deemed a performance advantage.
Category: Woman focuses on four athletes, from the Global South forced out of competition by these regulations, the devastation to their bodies, and lives but equally arresting their passion for sport is further emboldened by their conviction to stand up for their human rights. Following her award-winning film Toxic Beauty, Phyllis Ellis exposes an industry controlled by men putting women’s lives at risk while the policing of women’s bodies in sport remains, in a more nefarious way, under the guise of fair play.