Single-sex competition in junior netball: the continuing debate

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Naughton, Geraldine and Carlson, John (2005) Single-sex competition in junior netball: the continuing debate. Sport Health, 23 (1). pp. 10-14. ISSN 1032-5662


The age limit for children's single-sex sporting competition was recently increased from 12 to 14 years of age in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Equal Opportunity Court). In November 2003, the Court ruled against single-sex participation in the case of a 14 year old female wishing to compete in the sport of Australian Football. The finding in support of mixed competition was made on the basis of minimal physiological strength and size differences between genders up to 14 years of age. Officials from Netball Victoria were subsequently invited to re-defend the previously obtained right for the option of single-sex netball competitions. We present a number of arguments for the right to retain a choice for single-sex netball competitions. Restricting the options to play netball during the early years of adolescence may further decrease existing poor sports participation rates in young females in Australia. Our conclusion is that young females' total health is a bigger issue than population statistics for strength and size differences and should be considered in decisions on equality of participation in the predominantly female domain of netball.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise & Sport Science (CARES)
Keywords sport, netball, physical activity, young girls, participation rights
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