It is not ‘nasty’ to stand up for women’s rights by Laura Rimmer
It didn’t bode well. From the off – the very first sentence, no less – Dani Garavelli’s piece in the Scotsman, ‘Time to call a ceasefire as gender debate gets nasty’, draws a parallel between ‘the rights of two historically oppressed groups in society – cis (non trans) women and trans women.’
Engender, who describe themselves as Scotland’s feminist organisation, have published an open letter following criticism of themselves and other officially funded women’s groups by MSP Joan McAlpine.
Engender’s opening gambit is to announce that they “neither ‘represent women and girls’, nor make any claim to.” This is quite an admission from a supposedly feminist group and rather begs the question what purpose Engender serves. They state that their “expertise comes from feminist scholarship, evidence drawn from delivery of services and programmes, and work with women and a wide range of women’s groups.” It would appear that Engender’s rather rarified expertise is from a rather narrow version of third wave feminist scholarship, while their “wide range” of women’s groups excludes all those who disagree on points of policy. We should note here that Forwomen.Scot members include those with decades of front line feminist activism – including at Greenham and Faslane and those who campaigned for gay rights when the stigma of AIDS overshadowed the community – as well as lawyers, academics, medics and those involved at the coal face of women’s services.
Ahead of the census debate we are concerned that the definitions of male and female in Scots Law and practice need to be robust and that appropriate protections can also be put in place for the trans community through proper data gathering. But conflating sex and gender serves no-one and hurts many.
Briefing Notes: Stage One Debate on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill
For Women Scotland was delighted to have had the opportunity to give evidence at committee stage regarding proposed changes to the 2021 census.
We fully support the proposal to gather data with regard to gender identity and sexual orientation and, due to the sensitive nature of these questions, that this should be done on a voluntary basis. The census is an ideal way to gather detail on small populations to better enable provisions.
The committee also considered calls to conflate sex and gender identity within the compulsory M/F question or to add the category “other”. The Stage 1 report was clear in recommending that these characteristics should remain distinct and that a non-binary option should not be added.
Women’s March London have decided to call women ‘menstruators’ and have a handy chart telling us to replace ‘women’s health’ with ‘reproductive health, and ‘mothers and daughters’ with ‘parents and children’. This is inclusive, apparently – yet they fail to notice the glaringly obvious in that women have just been excluded from (almost) all the language they use. I have no idea why they are not the People’s March! https://twitter.com/womensmarchlon/status/1087104151123906561
The Times reports on the independent investigation into the Green party which found that Aimee Challenor, a transgender activist and candidate for the Greens’ deputy leadership, committed a “serious error of judgment” by appointing her father, David, as her agent at two elections even as he faced trial for kidnapping, raping and torturing a 10-year-old girl. http://archive.fo/XJymD
Still in holiday mode so not much to report this week.
Interesting article in the Independent whereby, in newspeak, Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committe, does ‘a reverse ferret’. Apparently, review of the GRA is not the most pressing issue for transpeople, but rather it is access to public services such as healthcare.