Would you be surprised to hear that UK law protects single-sex, safe spaces for women – but many businesses and organisations think it doesn’t?
There is widespread confusion about what the Equality Act means in practice, and the very protections designed to keep women safe are being misinterpreted and used against us.
We’ve seen schools, prisons, women’s refuges and rape crisis centres, hospitals and businesses all put women or girls at risk by forcing us to share private space with fully-intact males who ID as female. But, contrary to what many lobby groups would like us to believe – under current law, this does not need to happen.
The government urgently needs to put out clear guidance on the Equality Act, so we can put a stop to this confusion and ensure our spaces are lawfully protected.
This is where you come in!
If you ask your MP to write a letter to a minister they should to do it for you, even if they disagree with you. Ask them to add their own support if they do agree.
We need as many people as possible to get involved:
Please, stand up for women this International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March):
- Read our briefing note: SINGLE SEX SPACES – BRIEFING FOR YOUR MP
- Contact your MP and ask for an appointment (please, see them in person if possible, this gets results)
- Please let us know you’re planning to visit your MP, via our Facebook or Twitter accounts or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Explain to your MP why this is important to you – and likely to be important to women in their constituency.
- Ask your MP to write to Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women, on your behalf
- Share the posters below, print out and take photos if you like, and tweet with the hashtags #IWDQuestions and #AskYourMP
If you’d like help writing your email, feel free to use / edit this:
Dear [MP’s name],
I am writing as one of your constituents. Please could I request a meeting with you to discuss the issue of single-sex spaces for women.
The Equality Act 2010 is clear that it is lawful to provide single sex spaces where there is a genuine need. However, many businesses, organisations and schools seem to be confused about the legislation and are misinterpreting it, putting the safety of women and girls at risk – for example in women’s refuges and support sessions, in changing rooms at shops, leisure centres and schools and in sports at all levels.
There is urgent need for clear guidance.
Please see attached a briefing note outlining the issues.
Please let me know when it would be convenient to visit you.
Tips on meeting your MP
Remember: This is about maintaining our hard-won rights to privacy, dignity and safety. We’re fighting to uphold the law, not to change it.
Enter your postcode on this page to find your MP’s name and contact details: MPs’ Offices
Optional: you could find out what your MP’s responsibilities and interests are (from MP’s Offices link above) so you can tailor your approach. e.g. if they like sports, you could read up on the current attacks on Martina Navratilova/Sharron Davies; if it’s schools then find some examples of social contagion leading to mass transing, or girls being anxious about using mixed-sex loos.
Check our BRIEFING NOTE to see if any of the examples on it match your MP’s interests..
If you want to know more about your MP, visit They Work for You
Think about this – why is this issue important to YOU, personally?
Does it touch on your personal or work life? Are your family members affected? Do you have experience through your work, background or life, that means you understand this issue?
Your MP works for you. And if they understand how this issue affects you, it helps them to be able to say that they are representing you, personally, as their constituent.
Visiting your MP
You have the right to ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns. You will probably meet your MP in their surgery, which should be local to you.
You can meet your MP individually but it is good to go in a small group of 2-3 if you can. This shows you are not alone in your concerns and will enable you to cover more issues. It also means you can pick up things if someone else forgets. Decide who will focus on which topic.
If you can, relate your concerns to the interests and responsibilities the MP has.
What do you want your MP to do?
Be clear about what you would like them to do. Ask them to write to Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women, and pass on your concerns
Ideally, give them a paper copy of the briefing and email it to them as well.
More info on meeting your MP
The guidance on meeting your MP is an abridged version of A Woman’s Place’s excellent page Lobby Your MP
Download the SINGLE SEX SPACES – BRIEFING
Don’t forget – tell us about your actions!
Please remember to tell us you’re visiting your MP, so we can tell the press how many of us are doing this. Thanks!