We are the co-founders of Woman’s Place UK and we are all members of the Labour Party.
We have been horrified at the way the concerns we are raising on behalf of women around the UK have been dealt with by the Labour Party in recent years.
We have worked hard to make sure that women’s voices are heard in public debate and policy making.
We believe that biological sex matters.
We campaign for women’s rights as they exist in the Equality Act 2010.
We submitted several responses to both the UK Labour Party and the Scottish Labour Party Policy Forum Reviews. We were pleased to see that some of our ideas were taken up and that we were referenced as a source in the final UK Labour Party report.
We have submitted responses to several other consultations on proposed GRA reform, the use of data and other civil and legal rights. You can read all the submissions we have made here.
We write to you now to raise serious and substantial concerns about Labour’s attitude to women who support our campaign and share our beliefs. In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the following:
- Women have been harassed and abused in their Labour Party branches, CLPs and on-line by other members of the Labour Party;
- Women have been investigated, warned as well as barred from membership because of their belief in biological sex;
- A complaint by us about an aggressive and intimidating protest at our unofficial Labour Party fringe has been ignored for over 5 months;
- Several candidates in the Leadership & Deputy Leadership campaign signed a pledge which made scurrilous and unfounded comments about our campaign which we believe to be defamatory;
- None of the Leadership or Deputy leadership candidates responded to our communications asking for evidence of the claims being made in this pledge or to our request for a meeting.
We are frankly astonished at the way we, and other women (and some men) in the Labour Party, have been treated over this issue.
In the last couple of years, we have met with several key figures in the Labour Party but these meetings have proved to be extremely unsatisfactory and commitments that were made to us have simply not been kept.
We think this failure to properly respond to the concerns raised by women, or to denounce the attacks on hundreds of loyal Labour Party members and activists, has done the Labour Party untold damage.
Many women have remained in the Party against their better judgement in the sincere hope that the Labour Party will come to its senses and adopt a principled and reasonable approach to debate and equal rights in the party.
We are pleased to see the growing support for the Labour Women’s Declaration, founding signatories to which include three members of the Scottish Parliament and over 20 local councillors.
We take heart that the 2019 Labour Manifesto committed to the following actions:
“Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.”
“We will end mixed-sex wards.”
We look forward to seeing how Labour will work to ensure these promises are progressed through practice, policy and legislation.
Labour has reached a new stage in its evolution. We hope that the Party will take this opportunity to put things right.
We sincerely want to see a Labour Party that understands both its responsibilities towards all its members as well as its obligation to foster good relations between individuals and groups with different protected characteristics.
We look forward to hearing how you intend to put both into practice.
Judith Green, Ruth Serwotka, Kiri Tunks
Co-founders, Woman’s Place UK