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Category: Woman (15) [European Premiere] + ScreenTalk

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2023

An athlete trains on a road

Category: Woman exposes an industry controlled by men that puts women’s lives at risk and raises issues of racism, sexism, and the right to determine another persons’ biological sex. 

When South African runner Caster Semenya burst onto the world stage in 2009, her championship was not celebrated, but instead launched a series of increasingly invasive public attacks, exposing her personal medical records and stirring relentless debates on her “legitimacy” as an athlete and as a woman.

Using women's naturally varying androgen levels to evaluate their performance advantages, World Athletics create new rules declaring certain female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies to compete. Category: Woman focuses on four athletes from the Global South who are forced out of competition by these regulations, exploring the devastation to their bodies and private lives.

Join filmmaker Phyllis Ellis, film participant Dr. Payoshni Mitra, and athlete Annet Negesa (via Zoom) for a conversation after the film.

Canada 2022 Dir Phyllis Ellis 76 min (in the English, Hindi, Swahili language)

Please note: this film contains brief mentions of suicidal thoughts, references to forced/coerced surgeries, and conversations about violence against women’s bodies.

This is a captioned screening. HOH captions, including text description of significant sound effects as well as dialogue. Live-captioning of post-screening discussion.

There is audio description available for this title. We provide audio description using the Dolby Screentalk system. The film soundtrack comes through the speakers in the usual way and a recorded narrator explains what is happening on screen through personal headphones. Please ask a member of staff for a set of headphones.

‘Category: Woman delicately portrays the athletes featured in it on their own terms.‘
Kyle Knight, Senior Researcher, Health and LGBT Rights, Human Rights Watch
‘I had experienced many challenges as an Olympian and as a woman in high performance sport, but I may have collapsed under the pressure these phenomenal athletes have endured.‘
Phyllis Ellis, Director, Category: Women

Watch the trailer and discover the Human Rights Watch Streaming Platform

Hands to the ground ready to sprint

Category: Woman trailer

Watch the trailer for Category: Woman, part of Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2023 

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Cinema 3