The case of Emily South

Discrimination on the basis of gender

Emily South had been a member of the St.Kilda Bowling Club for approximately seven (7) years and wanted to play at the highest level of competition. This was the saturday afternoon competition, a men's competition that ran under the auspices of the Royal Victoria Bowls Association (RVBA). Her own club deemed her to be of sufficient standard to play but because she was female, the RVBA refused to register her. When Ms South took her case to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, the RVBA defended their stance by using the "strength, stamina and physique" exception which applies in discrimination legislation. In other words, the RVBA tried to imply that Ms South did not have sufficient strength, stamina and physique to play in the men's competition. However at the tribunal hearing, this defence by the RVBA was rejected on the grounds that strength, stamina and physique was not significant in Lawn Bowls. The RVBA were ordered to amend its rules so as to not prohibit women.



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