Have you signed the Labour Women’s Declaration?

This week a collection of Labour member, activists and supporters have launched the Labour Women’s Declaration.

With 300 founding signatories including councillors, constituency chairs, and women’s officers the Declaration aims to:

“…ensure that a Labour Government is elected AND to support Women’s sex based rights and protections.”

Labour Women’s Declaration 2019

The politics around ‘gender’ has become decidedly ‘murky’ over the past decade with all three major parties currently outwardly supporting the misogynistic and blatantly dangerous concept of self-id. This murkiness is made increasingly treacherous by the current colonisation of the left by militant gender idealists who seem to enjoy nothing more than engaging in threatening behaviour towards women who are merely exerting our right to assemble and discuss our rights, whilst maintaining that any woman that speaks up about her concerns about self-id should be branded forever right-wing or even ‘a nazi’!

In my most cynical moments I; like many gender critical feminists consider myself politically homeless, in my more optimistic moments I find my left-wing values hard to disguise even in the face of abuse from gender idealists. Although I’ve always maintained that I would not judge any woman for finding a mouthpiece in right wing press; direct allegiance with the far right is not something I personally feel comfortable with and as a single mother from a working class background I believe I would be absolutely foolish to believe that even the most moderate right has anything but the most superficial interest in protecting either mine or my daughters’ longterm rights, the rights of lesbian and bi women or indeed anyone who has ever considered themselves working class. I worry about another few years under Tory rule; I worry about the future of the NHS, I worry about friends who have used food banks, I worry about bl**dy Brexit!

I find the Labour Women’s Declaration to be a light in the murk of the political landscape. That so many left wing women (and allies) have stepped forward and signed shows that we will not be bullied into abandoning the left even if the left has tried to scare us away. I believe few could truly disagree with the Declaration itself:

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.

Labour Women’s Declaration 2019

I am heartened by the Labour Women’s Declaration; I hope it continues to attract signatures, I hope it is a rallying cry to the many left wing women that have felt betrayed by recent politics, I hope that more than anything this declaration may provoke some direct action to protect our hard won rights. Deeds not only words.

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