FWS Statement on Nicola Sturgeon’s video

We should like to address the film released tonight by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the height of a national health crisis.

As women’s rights campaigners we are all too aware that the burden of this crisis has fallen on women: in jobs lost and in additional duties shouldered. We know that the most vulnerable have been the most affected. We do not live in an echo chamber but in the often brutal real world.

We know that the most at-risk children are suffering from lack of adequate education, trapped in sometimes desperate family situations. We know that lockdown has accelerated domestic abuse. We know that the effects of this collapse will hang over us for a generation.

Women are the most likely to be caring for loved ones, to have lost a job and had their finances ravaged by the economic impact. Children are isolated from friends and missing vital schooling, and students are watching a future recede.

Yet, tonight, the First Minister chose to respond to none of that. Instead she sought to reassure an increasingly angry and emotional niche group in her party wedded to identity politics.

Scotland today is beset. This is not entirely the fault of the First Minister. However, she is answerable for serious failures and concerns in the party and in Government. The decision to make this film will be judged as illustrative of her priorities and principles and will not reflect well upon the First Minister, her party, or on Scotland.

To put this in context, the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has repeatedly dismissed concerns that women who wish to debate proposed Gender Recognition Act reforms and the impact on women’s rights would be criminalised in hate crime law. Today, he proposed the most minor amendment to the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill to allow women the right to continue to debate the implications.

The furious reaction of certain activists confirmed all our fears that many were planning to use this new blasphemy law to persecute women for the crimes of discussing women’s health, rights, bodies and safe spaces. Our worst fears realised.

Some time ago, Women’s Spaces in Scotland asked the Scottish Government to provide guarantees that women would be able to continue to have this conversation. Despite soothing words from civil servants, nothing concrete was forthcoming.

In the run up to the last consultation, For Women Scotland, the largest women’s rights organisation in Scotland, repeatedly asked if we could meet the First Minister – who claims that she supports open conversation on this topic – to discuss the impact of self-ID. She would not meet us.

Ms Sturgeon has chosen to frame her remarks as a response to “transphobia”, but no transphobia that would be covered by her party’s own Bill has been evidenced by the First Minister. Of course we can understand a leader’s desire to placate younger, fiercer members of her party, but she has an equal responsibility to listen to her female members and to denounce the young party members who openly abuse women on social media.

Our offer to meet – under the current difficult circumstances over Zoom might be best – remains open.

Women want better.

11 thoughts on “FWS Statement on Nicola Sturgeon’s video

  1. A clear analysis of an increasingly idiot situation.
    So much comment is subdued by fear of not being Politically Correct.

  2. Thank you. I’m hardly old, and am ALSO a party member. Glad you are putting women’s side of this, and mature debate.

  3. I believed in Nicola Sturgeon and supported her leadership, despite her silence on reform of the GRA. Tonight’s video has changed my view of her and demonstrated her alliance with a small but vociferous group who seek to erase women’s rights and women’s identity. A year ago, responding to a news article about the GRA, I wrote that we were witnessing a form of ethnic cleansing. At the time I felt it may have been a slight exaggeration to say it but I now believe that is exactly what is being attempted. She has disregarded the groundswell of Scottish public opinion against reform of the GRA and has done little to allay the major concerns of women. It is not ‘transphobia’ for women to expect that their sex-based rights are protected. It is not ‘transphobia’ for women to say that gender self-ID presents a danger to women and girls. We should be able to state this without being verbally abused and/or threatened. I am a supporter of Scottish Independence, so tonight I am doubly grieving because this could well harm our cause.

  4. Women want better indeed. I understand the pressure there is to bend the knee to a small, vocal and angry minority. Yet it is women that suffer at the hands of male violence, half the population are exposed to bigotry and misogyny. We should be encouraged to talk, share our concerns and guard our private spaces in the public sphere. Come on Nicola, woman up and defend the right of girls and women. The majority, not the few are asking for this,

  5. Completely agree…there is such loose use of language from the first minister & others re this issue that one can only be suspicious of certain individuals’ real motivations.

  6. After viewing that video from the FM, I visited twitter although not a member to assess the impact from users , I was disgusted that ANY attempt by users to put forward any contrary views or opinions on the FM’s video resulted in the poster automatically being BRANDED transphobic

    This ridiculous capture of a political party who are supposed to work for the benefit of Scottish citizens yet who have CONSTANTLY IGNORED the goundswell of opinion against these regressive and reviled policies indicates that there is NO chance that their intentions are honourable and that they are intent on pushing these bills through against all opposition come what may

  7. It is pathetic to just say ‘transphobia’ and it actually makes me angry when you consider that many women who wish to talk about women’s issues are themselves marginalised as lesbians..anyone remember them, or being women do they not count? I aim very amused to hear that women are ALLOWED to discuss issues that directly impact on their lives and their daughter’s lives. Well I think politicians should understand, women have spent 100 years discussing their issues and society’s impact on us and we will be continuing to. A lobby group will not stop 100 years of women’s herstory.

  8. I think what has happened is that she has abandoned natal women for trans women (and men) because the Stonewall Diversity Champions have captured the party and set the agenda. Many young people support this unscientific nonsense and they are the future, she believes, they and their ‘
    pseudo ‘woke’ agenda. I know, because there are those I know personally who support this stuff and they cannot tell you why they do, except that they get angry and say you are transphobic. Naturally, too, everything that is wrong in the world is our generation’s fault.

    We are our own worst enemies. When the 2004 GRA was introduced, that was the middle ground; we should have made it plain then that it was the line in the sand – no farther. Instead, we tried to be kind and nice as we, as women, are always expected to be, whatever is thrown at us. Somehow, it becomes our job to help to validate men who claim to be women and who want to take away our rights and spaces.

    When the same sex legislation was passed, there was no longer any need for the GRA, and we should have campaigned vigorously to have it repealed. Now, we need to campaign to strength the 2010 Equality Act and the ancillary legislation around women’s and girl’s rights based on their sex, not their gender, as well as resisting any more attempts to mutilate our children. Extending the GRA actually goes against the UN’s own female human rights, and I think, in the end, we are going to have to take this to the international arena because the human rights for trans people was never meant to encompass the hordes of cross-dressers, fetishists and drag queens that want access to our spaces, egged on by Stonewall and the trans lobby.

    I really do believe we should be concentrating on the human rights legislation itself even if we do win the battle (fingers and toes crossed) against redefining women – for the simple reason that many men, who would otherwise be our allies, are miffed at the quota system for women, not seeing that it is yet another route for trans women to broach our sex-based rights and spaces.

    Nicola Sturgeon, Shirley-Anne Somerville, and the rest of the pseudo ‘wokies’ of the SNPG are a lost cause. We need to accept that they are going to push this stuff through regardless of what happens. The pandemic has ground everything else to a halt, but, not apparently, this stuff. If the 2010 Equality Act is tightened up in its exceptions for sex-based spaces and rights for natal women, and the hate Crime Bill also includes ‘misogyny’ as a category, then those, in themselves, will go a long way to keeping self-ID men out of our sex-based areas of dispute. We need to bombard our elected representatives to support those moves. Many of them have done precious little to help us, while others have been outstanding.

  9. Excellent summation of the current situation in Scotland where trans-identifying males are afforded more consideration than women.

    Sturgeon has backed herself into a corner on this issue. In order to appease a tiny minority of trans activists she risks alienating 51% of the Scottish population whose rights are being threatened. Rather than let these people leave the SNP, Sturgeon again shows her contempt for the woman of Scotland by sucking up to them.

    A trans-identifying male is not a woman and can never be.  I have no issue with this group fighting for their own rights, good luck to them. This isn’t transphobia, it’s simply protecting the rights that women have fought for for decades and refuse to have compromised by any group.

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