Engender

Engender, who describe themselves as Scotland’s feminist organization, 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.

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Sex Matters

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.

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Census Briefing Notes

Briefing Notes: Stage One Debate on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Background

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.

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Women and Girls in Sport

As part of their monthly spotlight ‘Have your say’ section, the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls requested feedback from individuals and groups on the topic of Women and Girls in Sport.  They asked:

  • What are the biggest equality issues, in Scotland, around women and girls in sport?
  • What needs to change, in Scotland, to improve opportunities for women and girls in sport?
  • What actions should NACWG recommend to improve gender equality in sport, in Scotland?

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Response to Gregor Fisher Murray’s Resignation as Children’s Convenor

Since our letter to the First Minister, the SNP Councillor Gregor Fisher Murray has resigned from his positions as Children’s Convenor and Equalities Spokesperson.  However, he still remains as Councillor for Dundee and a member of the SNP.  See the article in the Courier of 10 August 2018:  https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/703892/childrens-convener-resigns-following-row-over-expletive-laden-social-media-outbursts/

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Open Letter to First Minister

Dear Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister,

We are a group of 51 women from various professions and walks of life across Scotland, and who are very concerned at the climate of misogyny and violent threats against women currently being fomented by the culture of trans ideology.

In particular we are concerned at the very recent behaviour of SNP councillor Gregor Fisher Murray when he launched an expletive ridden tirade of abuse at women who were expressing their concern over threats against lesbians defining their own boundaries and their own sexuality.  Please see the article in today’s The Courierhttps://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/685759/childrens-convener-issues-grovelling-climbdown-over-expletive-laden-twitter-outbursts/

This is not the first time that he has displayed such impulses, previously having attacked those who want 50/50 representation as ‘feminist shite’.

Gillian Martin’s non-aggressive comments of some years ago had consequences for her but Gregor Murray’s behaviour, which is recent and repeated, have had no such repercussions for him.  We call upon you to send a clear message, that discourse around these matters must be respectful and non-threatening.  The fact that this person identifies as non-binary clearly hasn’t prevented him from adopting intimidating behaviour typical of male aggressors, and promoting blatant sexism.  Women’s and children’s rights are not safe in his hands.  He is not acceptable as an ‘equalities spokesperson’, nor as convenor of a children and families committee.  We call upon you to stand up for women and send a message that this language and behaviour will not be tolerated in the SNP.

Yours sincerely,

forwomen.scot