A new bill drafted by the Welsh government may redefine the definition of a woman in politics, to allow more trans women to run as candidates in Welsh parliament.
A New Law
The government of Wales has proposed a bill that will redefine the definition of ‘woman’ to better include transgender women in parliament under new gender laws.
The Gender Quotas Bill
The report came to public attention on October 29, when a draft of the new Gender Quotas Bill was leaked to the media.
It proposed that a list of members elected to the Senedd must be balanced by gender, with at least 50% of candidates being women.
Transgender Women Included
According to the proposal, transgender women will officially be included in this new quota under the definition of women, a decision that has inflamed debate in Wales.
A Gender-Balanced Parliament
The Senedd is the official name for the democratically elected Welsh parliament.
“Our proposed model for quotas is designed to maximize the chances of achieving a Senedd comprised of at least 50 percent women,” a government spokesperson has said.
The bill has gone on to define transgender as “a person who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning [their] sex to female by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”
No Challenges, No Inquiry
It also suggests that no constituency returning officer would be entitled to challenge or inquire about information regarding a candidate’s identity.
Not the Final Version
The transgender community and advocacy groups have reacted favorably to the proposed bill, although the leaked draft will not be the finalized version, according to the government spokesperson.
They did not clarify if redrafting would affect the new definition.
However, many have contested the proposed bill, both inside and outside of the Welsh government.
Most notably, the Welsh Secretary David TC Davies has expressed “grave concerns” about the proposal.
Impact on Women’s Rights
“One of my greatest fears is that the plan will have a detrimental impact on women’s rights across our country,” he elaborated.
“Those rights have been hard fought for and I fear could now be undermined by the Labour-run Welsh Government’s ill-thought policy.”
Women’s Rights Network
The Women’s Rights Network has also spoken out against the proposal, with co-ordinator Cathay Larkman telling the Telegraph that the bill is an “attack” on women’s rights.
She also said it would allow men to “self-identify” in order to improve their chances of candidacy.
“Toxic and Misogynist Ideology”
“Firstly, it undermines the rights of half of the population of Wales.
Secondly, they are hijacking legislation that should benefit women and increase female participation in public life in order to embed a toxic and misogynist ideology,” Larkman continued.
Putting the Government on Notice
“It would introduce gender self-identification which has serious implications for women, and girls in particular, with regards to single-sex spaces and services,” she elaborated.
“We are putting the Welsh Government on notice. Women will organize to fight this attack on our rights. This is a first step towards full self-ID in law.”
A Pro-Transgender Minister
Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales, has long taken a ‘pro-trans’ stance, stating emphatically that he believes “transgender women are women.”
Inclusivity Is the Aim
“It is a difficult area where people feel very strongly on different sides of an argument and an argument that divides people who agree on most other things,” he told the Welsh parliament.
“To me, inclusivity is absolutely what we should be aiming for here.”
Is It a Trend?
This new proposal runs similarly to Scotland’s planned gender reform laws, which would have made it easier for individuals to legally change their gender. However, it was blocked by the UK government in January.
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