Today the Sunday Times reports that the government, following consultation, has rejected reform of the Gender Recognition Act to permit sex self-identification. There has been no formal announcement but, if the leak is correct, we welcome that it will bring to an end four years of mischievous and misguided planning by the Conservative Government. Following the Women and Equalities Select Committee Recommendations under Maria Miller, there has been widespread adoption of principles of self-declaration by public and commercial bodies in expectation of law change. This must now be urgently addressed.
We welcome reports that the right to single-sex exemptions will be upheld, as trailed in the previous announcement by Liz Truss, and look forward to seeing the details of the policy. The particular need for women to have single-sex spaces and services is already recognised in the Labour Party manifesto and we welcome cross party support for this position. We remain concerned that Holyrood appears to be pushing ahead with measures that undermine women’s rights to single-sex spaces.
The defence of single-sex exemptions, and ensuring that they can be utilised, has been the heart of the Woman’s Place UK campaign since inception. If confirmed, the response of government will be a testament to the efforts of women’s organising that has tenaciously dragged government back from the brink, against a backdrop of institutional capture and state-funded lobbying.
WPUK, other grass roots feminist groups and individuals have worked hard to bring this matter to the public attention of government and policy makers facing vilification and intimidation from across the political spectrum as a result. Much of this vilification has been motivated by sexism and misogyny which is too deeply embedded in British poiltical life. We pledge to continue campaigning on women’s rights issues demanding proper funding and government support for women’s services. We are determined to contribute to making the lives of women better.
14th June 2020