Who are we?
We are a group of people from a range of backgrounds including trade unions, women’s organisations, academia and the NHS. We are united by our belief that women’s hard won rights must be defended.
What are we for?
We are against all forms of discrimination. We believe in the right of everyone to live their lives free from discrimination and harassment. Women face both endemic structural and personal inequality. This is reflected, for example, in the high levels of sexual harassment and violence against women and girls; the gender pay gap; discrimination at work. This is why sex is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act (2010) which we believe must be defended.
Our original 5 Demands
- Respectful and evidence-based discussion about the impact of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to be allowed to take place and for women’s voices to be heard.
- The principle of women-only spaces to be upheld – and where necessary extended.
- A review of how the exemptions in the Equality Act which allow or single sex services or requirements that only a woman can apply for a job (such as in a domestic violence refuge) are being applied in practice.
- Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces.
- Government to consult on how self-declaration will impact upon data gathering – such as crime, employment, pay and health statistics – and monitoring of sex-based discrimination such as the gender pay gap.
Our experience in campaigning on these 5 demands has exposed the poor state of women’s rights in the UK. We have decided therefore to develop a broader campaign on the foundations we have built.
To this end we have identified a new set of demands:
1. Women have a right to self-organise
Women have a right to self-organisation, to speak and to be heard free from fear of abuse, threat or vilification in public and political discourse and in academia. This should be actively facilitated by those with civic or legal responsibility for promoting equality.
2. The law must work for women
The law must be strengthened to ensure that all women who want or need single sex spaces (including toilets, health provision accommodation, prisons, sports, sexual and domestic violence services) are able to access them without resorting to extraordinary measures. Service providers should be supported in offering such services through legal and financial means and clear guidance must be issued on the exercising of such rights.
3. An end to violence against women
Government must make the end to male violence against women and girls a priority. Sustainable funding for independent women-led services for women subjected to VAWG must be fully resourced by central government alongside the implementation of statutory relationships and sex education in all schools.
4. Nothing about us without us.
All organisations, committees and politicians speaking on issues of material concern to women to demonstrate that they have widely consulted the women they represent and serve and that such consultation informs their action and their policies.
5. Sex matters
Rigorous collection and analysis of sex-based data and high-quality research must be central to the development of any services, policies or actions which address women’s needs or which challenge sex discrimination and inequality.
We will continue to organise public meetings and work to make sure women’s voices are heard in all matters of concern to them.