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Women and Equalities Rights

Women and Equalities                             July 2022

ForWomen Scotland

                        say they have no choice but to take the Scottish government back to court.  The reason is the Scottish government guidance on Gender Representation on Public Boards, which sought to make up the representation to 50% women.

                        Initially, the Scottish government decided that the 50% quota for women could be filled either by women or by trans-identified males, that is, still intact males who merely identify as women, which would have made a mockery of the legislation.  Following the successful first Judicial Review, the Scottish government’s view was struck down by the court, who stated that they had no right to redefine ‘women’ any way they please.

                        But the new guidance issued is just ignoring this and is again stating that transwomen can be included as part of the female quota.

                        Forwomen Scotland are angry, not least because this battle was won, but also because Scotland’s women are being expected to pay for both sides of the case, funding them to challenge the Scottish government, and funding the Scottish government lawyers through our taxes.

Women and Domestic Abuse

                        A study of 500 women by Scottish women’s Aid (SWA) and YWCA Scotland has show that one in three young women in Scotland had had an intimate relationship with someone who harmed them physically or emotionally.  Almost 75% of respondents knew someone who had suffered such abuse, and 57% said they did not learn anything about domestic abuse in school.  The Scottish government’s Equally Safe at School project is aiming to tackle sexual harassment and gender-based violence in schools.

Mesh Implants

                        The Scottish government has struck a deal for those women who have suffered from mesh implants to have them removed in the US free of charge. Women will first have to be referred by their GP to the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.  They can either be treated there or referred to an NHS England centre or to the United States, and all treatment and travel will be free.

No girls in the mixed team

                        Concerns are being raised over the SFA’s performance schools scheme since it was revealed that all 24 of the places at Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow have gone to boys, as have all the other 24 places on offer in the other six performance schools.  Eighty-two pupils made it through to the final day’s trials for Holyrood, but none of the four got through, including Lily McLaughlin, who is part of Celtic Girls Academy writes Caroline Wilson in the Herald, 20/7/22 (‘SFA accused of tick-box’ trials for girls in football academies’).

                        The SFA says they are working with the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) and clubs to ‘evolve the elite domestic player pathway for girls and women’, but came up with no answers as to why no girls got into the performance schools which were set up specifically to nurture future talent. 

            Do the trials favour males in some way?  Is any account taken of physiological differences between males and females, most marked after puberty, but still there? 


                        The Scottish government is considering improving rights for those who do not strictly identify as male or female.  It is claimed by some that non-binary people are never considered in the development of policy or law or the delivery of services, although it is not clear what they currently lack.  What would non-binary rights look like?  And critically who would they apply to, if people can just say they are neither male nor female?  You must base rights on facts, not feelings.  

Eve Appeal,

                        a women’s health charity, has been criticised for advice on smear tests which include pictures of men and refers to ‘men who have a cervix’. Following an outcry, it has promised to listen to feedback!  Maybe some biology lessons would be better first.

English Rugby Union

                        will likely ban transwomen playing in the female game, having found it to be unsafe and unfair, due to physical differences, bringing English Rugby into line with World Rugby and swimming body FINA.

British Triathlon

                        From 2023, trans-identified males will no longer be able to compete against females in the same competitions. From age 12 competitors will be split into a female-only category and an open category (male, transgender and non binary).

Is sex binary and immutable?

                        The World Health Organisation has caused consternation with its latest mantra that ‘sex is not limited to being male or female’, saying it wishes instead to ‘recognise gender and sexual diversity’.  But fertility expert Professor Robert Winston says we cannot escape genetics, and while mutilating your body will assist your idea of your gender identity, it will not change your sex, which is embedded in your genes in every cell of your body. 

                        Sadly the Church of England has admitted it does not have a definition of ‘woman’ and a minority cohort of the Church of Scotland voiced the opinion that gender identity is what matters, ‘a feeling inside’.  Singer Alison Moyet waded into the furore with her tale of being intimidated by a male urinating in front of her in toilets where the male just left the cubicle door open  She says some men just like to intimidate women, and  they will do this kind of thing because they can, and because they wish to disrupt women’s sense of safety.

                        But Australian women are hitting back at being called ‘birthing parent’ on a healthcare form, instead of ‘mother’.  An outraged new mother took to social media, whipping up a storm of opposition, saying the term was ‘appalling, offensive and dehumanising’.  It worked.  It was changed back to ‘mother’.

Woke Road Crossings

                        Councils have spent over £200,000 on ‘woke’ pedestrian crossings since 2019, including the £43,000 spent by Kensington and Chelsea Council, and £4,400 spent by Richmond Council.  Bristol City Council spent over £7K repainting a crossing in rainbow colours during the pandemic while cutting other services.


                        have been forced to retreat over claims that children know as young as 2 years old that they are trans.  Stephanie Arai-Davies, director of Transgender Trend, has called for an urgent inquiry into how an organisation with such ‘extreme identity ideology’ has been allowed to influence schools, and not only schools but also public bodies including many police services.  Stonewall later said their comment merely related to a nursery allegedly forcing gender stereotypes onto the children they care for.

                        There’s nothing stereotypical about deciding you are the opposite sex and mutilating your body to conform to stereotypes, is there?

JKR Quidditched

            Nearly 600 Quidditch teams compete in 40 countries in a game totally invented by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter novels.   Recently, the International Quidditch Association (IQA), United States Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) have voted to change the game’s name to Quadball to distance themselves from JK Rowling over her stance on women’s rights.   Could that be a breach of copyright if the idea is substantially the same as Quidditch?

            She has been publicly denounced by the young stars of Harry Potter, who owe her their careers, and she still receives death threats.  She was excluded from the 20th anniversary celebrations for the Harry Potter phenomenon, despite probably revitalising the children’s literature market single-handed.  She also rails against the reduction of women to bodily functions and body parts.  And despite the death threats and abuse, she continues to speak out boldly about women’s rights.

Julia Pannell                                27/07/22                                                                                                   

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