The Labour Women’s Declaration is the work of a movement started in autumn 2019 to raise the profile of women’s sex-based rights within the Labour Party and wider socialist movement.
A core group of women rallied the support of 300 Labour Party activists and supporters to be founding signatories of the declaration. Thousands have now signed and more signatories are welcome.
Made in the form of a petition, the declaration is in response to moves which many fear threaten to erode and water down rights that women campaigned long and hard to achieve.
Concerns arose after Labour made commitments in its 2017 General Election Manifesto to reform to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Many believe the proposals would have a detrimental effect on women’s sex-based rights – particularly the right to single-sex facilities such as hospital wards, toilets and changing rooms and also services for survivors of domestic violence and rape.
The 2019 manifesto included a commitment to ‘ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision’. Yet it also included a further commitment to reform the GRA – without any mention of the need to consider how these two commitments might contradict each other.
Supporters of the Labour Women’s Declaration continue to campaign for women’s sex-based rights to be maintained and protected and for freedom from abuse, intimidation or censure as they do so.
1. Women and girls are subject to discrimination and oppression on the basis of their sex.
2. Women have the right to freedom of belief, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly (Articles 18, 19 and 20 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights).
3. Women have the right to discuss policies which affect them, without being abused, harassed or intimidated.
4. Women have the right to maintain their sex-based protections, as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female-only spaces such as changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons.
5. Women have the right to participate in single-sex sports, to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition.
6. Women have the right to organise themselves, as a sex, across a range of cultural, leisure, educational and political activities.
7. We condemn all attempts to undermine or limit the rights of women to self-organise and call on the Labour Party and the trades union movement to actively support these essential freedoms.