What is the Women’s Declaration?
January 4, 2020

What is the Women’s Declaration?

The Women’s Declaration is a proclamation of women’s sex-based human rights, which affirms that the discrimination and oppression of women all over the world is based upon biological sex, and not the postmodern concept of ‘gender identity’.

The declaration aims to protect women’s rights (e.g. across political, social, economic and cultural fields) from the erasure that could result from the replacement of the category of biological sex with that of ‘gender identity’, or the inclusion of men who claim to have female ‘gender identities’ within the category of women.

It highlights that in the first decades of the UN human rights approach, there was a clear understanding that discrimination against women is based upon biological sex, not ‘gender identity’. It is important that this understanding is not lost or diminished.

UN documents such as CEDAW recognise that sex stereotypes / sex roles (now commonly referred to as ‘gender’) are harmful to women and girls and should be eliminated.

Unfortunately, this clear understanding of the harm of sex stereotypes/ sex roles (‘gender’) is now being undermined through the language and ideology of ‘gender identity’, which promotes the belief that socially constructed sex stereotypes/ sex roles are innate and deserving of legal protection.

It is concerning that the notion of ‘gender identity’ has been incorporated into influential international documents such as the Yogyakarta Principles.

The Women’s Declaration is therefore important in order to counteract this confusion/conflation between the reality of discrimination against women (based on sex) and the theory of ‘gender identity’ (based on the belief that sex stereotypes are innate)

The Women’s Declaration promotes and reaffirms:

  • The rights of women are based on the category of sex.

  • Women have the right to be protected from discrimination across all fields (e.g. social, economic, political).

  • Women have the right to freedom of speech and should not be compelled (via punishment or harassment) to, for example, use pronouns that correspond to ‘gender identity’ rather than sex. Women should have the right to criticise the theory of ‘gender’ ideology and express their own beliefs regarding sex and ‘gender’.

  • The right of women to assemble and associate in single-sex groups and spaces, which exclude males regardless of their ‘gender identity’.

  • The importance of single-sex services in the fight to end violence against women. Such provisions (such as refuges, rape crisis centres, toilets, changing rooms, health facilities etc.) should be allocated on the basis of sex and not ‘gender identity’ and should be staffed by women on the basis of their sex and not ‘gender identity’.

  • Single-sex facilities designed to meet women’s needs should be at least equal in availability and quality to those provided to men. These facilities should not include men who claim to have female ‘gender identities’.

  • Children require protection from violence, discrimination and exploitation. This includes protection from those (including parents, schools, organisations, medical professionals etc.) who may encourage a child to believe that they are ‘born in the wrong body’ and can change sex, and those who encourage or force a child to undergo ‘medical treatment’ (such as surgery or hormone administration) or engage in harmful practices (e.g. breast binding) if the child does not conform to sex roles / sex stereotypes.

  • The right of children to be educated on the basis of equal opportunity, including the scientific basis of sexual difference and that sex stereotypes (‘gender identity’) constitute a form of discrimination against girls.