News and editorial

The Labour Party & Membership Data

Dear people whose job it is to collect & analyse personal data from the membership of the Labour Party,

Labour Women’s Declaration hopes you followed the court hearing on 9 March – Fair Play for Women versus Office for National Statistics – challenging the ONS guidance on how to fill in the sex question in the 2021 Census.  A full judicial review was due to take place this Thursday, 18 March, so that the case could be heard as a matter of priority before census day, but the judge made an interim order instructing the ONS to immediately remove the incorrect guidance on the sex question, saying he was satisfied the campaign group Fair Play for Women was “more likely than not to succeed” on its case regarding the legal definition of “sex”. read more

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International women’s day in the time of Covid

2020’s IWD came just before the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. On this, hopefully the only IWD we will spend in lockdown in the UK, it is a good moment to reflect on what the pandemic has meant for women here, and in particular how the policies and actions of the Conservative government have impacted on women.

On 9 February, the Women and Equalities Select Committee published Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the Gendered Economic Impact. The report states explicitly that the schemes the government put into place so rapidly had not had any equality impact assessment and “design of these schemes overlooked … the specific and well-understood labour market and caring inequalities faced by women.” read more

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Sex in the Census

With a month to go until the census on March 21, 15 organisations including LWD have launched the Sex in the Census campaign to protest against the last-minute decision by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) not to ask people to answer accurately with their biological sex.
The Sex in the Census campaign is not a boycott of the census but asks people to request a paper copy of the census and return it with a letter that will ask the ONS to confirm that they will only record the respondent’s sex as “sex registered at birth”.
The group is calling for the mandatory sex question to clearly and accurately count men and women based on sex.
Please visit this new joint website and help us highlight this last minute cave-in by the ONS. read more

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We stand with Kiri

Kiri Tunks is a teacher, socialist, internationalist, co-founder of Woman’s Place UK and a founder signatory of Labour Women’s Declaration. In January 2021, Kiri was invited to speak at a Labour Party ward meeting to mark International Women’s Day. She was asked to speak about challenging sexism in education and wider society. This week she was told that her invitation to speak had been rescinded because of her connection to Woman’s Place UK.

On 17th February, she wrote an open letter (published below) which she sent to the ward chair, asking for it to be circulated to all members of the ward. She also sent it to the local MP, representatives on the regional executive and senior figures within the parliamentary Labour Party including the shadow minister for women & equalities and the general secretary of the party. She indicated to all her intention to make the letter public but has requested that we do not identify the ward. read more

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Toilet provision: consultation response

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government launched a consultation over toilet provision for men and women. This is Labour Women’s Declaration’s response:

1. The key points in the call for evidence

“[T]here needs to be proper provision of gender-specific toilets for both men and women, with a clear steer in building standards guidance” We would be in full agreement with this statement if the word ‘sex’ were used rather than ‘gender’, as this term is undefined and generally conflated with ‘gender identity’, the claimed non-observable, non-testable, sense of being a man or woman despite one’s biology indicating otherwise. ‘Sex’ is the protected characteristic, and we want to see single-sex provision as a matter of right.
“The Equality Act provides that sex, age, disability and gender reassignment are protected characteristics. This does not mean that gender-specific toilets should be replaced with gender-neutral toilets. But there should be balanced consideration of how the needs of all those with protected characteristics should be considered, based on the mix of the population and customer demand.” We could not agree more with this statement and regard it as key to the provision of facilities in a respectful and considerate manner. read more

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No-platforming and the so-called Left: a speech by Esther Giles

Esther Giles, who was due to appear at last weekend’s Labour Lockout event but was no-platformed, spoke today at Labour Against the Witchhunt’s Building the Campaign for Free Speech event. This is the text of her speech:

No-Platforming and the so-called Left: The Supposed “Right of Intolerance”

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This quote, wrongly attributed to Voltaire, was actually written by (would you believe it) a woman, Beatrice Evelyn Hall in a book published in 1906 which she wrote about Voltaire. And who, of course wrote under a pseudonym because she was a woman.  And, yes, I have met people who will not read anything written by a woman. read more

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