The International Olympic Committee Medical Commission (IOC MC) validated their statement dispelling the myth about potential injuries to female reproductive organs and it is now on the IOC web site.  The IOC MC also validated that the IOC does not require International Federations and National Olympic Committees to have policies on harassment or abuse (sexual, gender, etc.), however, they are encouraged to do so.


At the April 2011 IOC Medical & Science Group meeting in Monaco, the issue of the continued exclusion of women from some sports on the grounds of the risk of injury to their reproductive system was raised and discussed. Following the recommendations from the medical and scientific experts at the meeting, the IOC Medical Commission agreed and adopted the following statement:


“No female athlete should be denied the opportunity to participate in any Olympic sport on the basis that she might sustain an injury to her reproductive organs. A survey of injury data has failed to find any evidence of an increased risk of acute or chronic damage to the female reproductive organs occurring as a direct result of participation in sport.”


WomenCAN International and its Health and Science Advisory Board view this as a harassment issue, rather than a medical issue.


We will continue to encourage the International Canoe Federation (ICF) to adopt IOC consensus documents and use them as guidance to formulate their own, and include reporting mechanisms for all involved in our sport.


BACKGROUND: In 2002, the ICF asked WomenCAN for assistance in finding current medical information to dispel the myth that canoeing could damage a woman’s body.  Here is a report from WomenCAN’s Heather McNie after our trip to Sevilla, Spain to attend the 2002 ICF Canoe  Sprint World Championships and lobby officials before the ICF Congress.




The IOC MC held a consensus meeting on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport in 2006. Consensus Statement: Sexual harassment and abuse in sport


See our previous post here.