Dornoch Highland Games is launching a new scheme to allow female athletes to compete in mixed-gender events this summer on “a level playing field”.
Committee president Willie MacKay hopes Dornoch will “play a leading role in changing the face of competition” for games throughout the country.
The committee has decided to trial a new system using gender-equality conversion tables at next month’s games as they unveil mixed track and field races and jumps.
Alasdair MacDonald, Scottish Highland Games Association council member and judge, has prepared the conversion tables in an effort to ensure results can be judged equally.
He carried out research and comparison of results in track and field events for male and female athletes which have helped to provide the conversion tables.
For instance, a male jumping 1m 50cm in the high jump, would equate to a female jumping 1m 73cm.
In the long jump, a female jumping 4m 10cm would beat a male jumping 4m 78cm.
In track events the situation is easier to apply. In a 110 yard race, for instance, the females will all get an advanced start of nine yards.
Mr MacKay said: “Until the conversion tables are used at a few Highland Games, we will not know how accurate the evidence from Alasdair’s research is.
“However, we need to start somewhere and we are delighted to be the first Highland Games to pilot this system.
“We want to play a leading role in changing the face of Highland Games competitions and openly invite female athletes to Dornoch to compete in mixed gender events.”
Mr MacDonald said: “These tables have been created to try and ‘level the playing field’, between the perceived physical abilities of the genders, in track and field events. They are designed to allow both genders to fairly compete together, in the same event, without gender disadvantages.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “This is really good news. While the Dornoch Highland Games have always been open to women, this action goes a long way to encourage women to take part and compete daily.
“We need to encourage more women into sport and I’m delighted that Dornoch Highland Games are blazing a trail.”