January 2022

According to an article by the Scottish Daily Express, a Scottish Government spokesperson has said: “No group that has requested a meeting about the Gender Recognition Bill has been refused. Further ministerial meetings with a range of organisations, including those who have recently been in touch with a request, will take place ahead of the bill being introduced to Parliament.”

We note that the SNP promised in their manifesto to work with all interest groups, including women, on proposed changes to the GRA. Ministers have since met with five government-funded LGBT groups but no grassroots women’s groups.

Women Speak Scotland agree with policy analysis collective MurrayBlackburnMackenzie that “it is unreasonable to place responsibility for fulfilling a manifesto commitment on what are almost all exclusively volunteer-run groups working on shoestring with no public funding, no inside knowledge of the planned timetable and no established access to government”. Unlike the pro-self-ID lobbyists who have paid employees, we are a group of women from all walks of life, most of us juggling work and caring responsibilities, doing this on a voluntary basis.

Nonetheless, we welcome the Scottish Government’s professed willingness to meet with a wider range of organisations. We have written to Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, to request a meeting to discuss women’s and girls’ rights in Scotland, in relation to the upcoming proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

We will update on whatever response we receive.

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