The following parliamentary question was raised by David T C Davies, on 6th December 2018:
“To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2018 to Question 194662 and Question 194663 on Government Equalities Office: Meetings, on how many occasions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have held meetings with (i) Mermaids UK, (ii) Stonewall and (iii) Gendered Intelligence, (iv) Transgendered Trend, (v) Fair Play for Women and (vi) A Woman’s Place in each of the last three years.”
The Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, made the following response:
A) Since becoming the Minister for Women and Equalities in April this year, The Minister has had one introductory meeting with Stonewall to discuss LGBT policy, and one meeting with The Founder of a Women’s Place.
B) Since beginning its consultation engagement work in September 2017, the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) consultation team have met with the named organisations on the following number of occasions:
i. Mermaids: once
ii. Stonewall: four times
iii. Gendered Intelligence (GI): three times
iv. Transgender Trend: twice
v. Fair Play For Women (FPFW): twice
vi. A Woman’s Place (WP): three times
During the GRA consultation, officials in the Government Equalities Office also held roundtables with various groups, including: one on the topic of prisons and offender management, which was attended by FPFW; one with women’s organisations and charities, which was attended by FPFW and WP; one with LGBT organisations, which was attended by Stonewall, GI and Mermaids; and one focused on Wales, which was attended by Stonewall Cymru.
We have highlighted the references to Woman’s Place UK.
This response suggests WPUK has been involved in a total of five meetings with representatives of government.
This does not tally with our records.
We have met with officials from the Government Equalities Office (GEO) twice since our inception once before the consultation and once during the consultation. These meetings were also attended by representatives from several other organisations.
We also attended one round table organised by the Equality & Human Rights Commission. This was attended by representatives from several other organisations.
As an organisation, Woman’s Place UK has not had any separate meeting with government officials or any government minister.
Penny Mordaunt agreed to meet a survivor of sexual violence after David Davies MP asked a question at Prime Minister’s Questions. David T C Davies MP subsequently arranged for this meeting to happen with Penny Mordaunt. However, this meeting was arranged with the woman attending as an individual survivor to talk of her personal experiences with single-sex services. It was not arranged as an organisational meeting with Woman’s Place UK, although the woman is a co-founder of WPUK.
The woman travelled from outside of London to DfID, where she learnt that Mordaunt was detained at a long cabinet meeting, but met with staff from the GEO in Penny Mordaunt’s absence.
She discussed her personal experience as a user of single-sex spaces. After the end of the meeting, she was asked to wait for Penny Mordaunt who was returning to DfID from cabinet, and they exchanged a few words before Mordaunt’s next meeting. This cannot be described as a meeting with a Minister from Women & Equalities, but more properly as a meeting with officers of the GEO.
It was also never proposed as a meeting with Woman’s Place UK.
Following the meeting she wrote to Mordaunt that “As a formal meeting was not possible on this occasion, I do hope that one can be arranged between yourself and representatives of Woman’s Place UK in the future.”
No reply has been received.
On 16 February 2018 Woman’s Place UK wrote separately to Amber Rudd, Victoria Atkins and Baroness Williams requesting meetings with each, but never received a reply to any of these letters.
Woman’s Place UK have also written to Penny Mordaunt requesting a meeting, but to date this has not been granted.