woman in wheat field

What is a Woman?

By Roberta Woods

A question which never even required contemplation, let alone answering, until relatively recently. From an early age, boys and girls knew exactly who belonged to which category. Not anymore.

What is a Woman? Has now become a gotcha question which journalists and presenters will pose in an attempt to entrap the unwary, usually a politician they are looking to embarrass. Instead of meeting this with a robust response, most allow themselves to become befuddled. Johnson, Sunak and Starmer have all been caught off-guard with their answers. Parties of all persuasions, but especially the left, have encouraged identity politics and it is coming back to bite them.


A recent dilemma has arisen due to two competing sets of minority rights, in this case transgender women (i.e. men) and biological women. Unfortunately, the trans lobby are winning hands down, having become pervasive amongst our institutions due to organisations like Stonewall. In order to accommodate the minuscule, but growing numbers of transgendered, biological women are being forced to share their female-only spaces with biologically male trans persons.


Due to conflicts between the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 and the EqualityAct of 2010, it is now unclear what legally constitutes a ‘woman’, as there is confusion around those areas when biological sex might override gender identity. The Gender Recognition Act allows for transgender women, i.e men, to be recognised as female even without having undergone reassignment surgery. This conflicts with the Equality Act, which has legal provision to restrict access to women-only spaces based on biological sex rather than gender identity. This has the result of pressuring people into denying reality in favour of dogma.


Even the word cisgender has now entered into common parlance; a word used to describe those identifying as their biological sex – a word we had no need of when we were all just male and female. The BBC seems to have a particular problem with reporting gender correctly, especially with crimes of a sexual nature – they were recently accused of transphobia due to an article about lesbians being pressured into sex with some trans women. There has been more than one case of women prisoners being assaulted by trans women. In a recent case a woman reported being sexually assaulted in a female prison, by a ‘woman’ with a penis. Her assailant had conducted a three-month reign of terror assaulting four women. ‘Karen White’, a paedophile on remand for GBH and multiple rapes, was sent to HMP New Hall in Wakefield which houses 360 women, despite not having had surgery nor hormone treatment. As of March 2019, there were 34 transgender women (men!) without Gender Recognition Certificates who were nevertheless allocated to women’s prisons.


It has taken the recent case of the victory of the transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in the US to raise the issue of the unfairness of the situation in sports, in public debate. We now have transgender cyclist Emily Bridges (junior men’s record holder), set to compete alongside Dame Laura Kenny, 5 times UK Olympic champion. As a woman, I find all this extremely distasteful and an affront to my perception of myself. I have never been a feminist, but biological females like myself are now having to rely on radical feminists to defend their interests against the disproportionately powerful trans lobby.

6ft 1in trans swimmer Lia Thomas is now a controversial figure within the sport

4 comments

  1. thank-you Roberta, for a well presented and articulate article~the case for Women Only Sport-the vast majority of women would support you in what you say~obviously it has to be fought legally~could a tactic be for women to withdraw from competitions so the males have no-one to compete against?Womens sport could resume under a different set of ‘rules’~its drastic,but possible~as the scenario coming up on us , is utter madness and not to be endured ?

  2. Jill, thank you for your kind words. What you suggest, sportswomen withdrawing from these competitions where they are up against biological men, makes sense, but you know that in the current hysteria they would probably find themselves unsupported by their governing bodies, indeed they would most likely also find themselves ‘cancelled’ by sponsors and social media. Maybe we should stop using ‘their’ language, words like cisgender, birth parent etc., and follow Helen Joyce’s suggestion of just referring in these cases to men and women, the words indicating biological sex . In this game, we should refuse to play by ‘their’ rules.

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