by Julie Bindel
Thursday, 17
June 2021
Response
16:23

The Fawcett Society has let women down

The group's silence on the Maya Forstater case is unacceptable
by Julie Bindel
Credit: Getty

As a fellow journalist that sometimes crosses paths with Ayesha Hazarika I have come to like and respect her, but her misjudged and massively inappropriate piece in the Evening Standard this week has left me shaking my head in despair.

Likely prompted by the disquiet expressed by feminists on social media regarding The Fawcett Society’s silence on the Maya Forstater case, Hazarika, a board member of the women’s rights organisation, explained how terrified she has been in speaking out about the war between trans-activists and feminists. She wrote:

As with so much right now, extremist, unforgiving, rigid voices on both sides dominate the online war in a fight to the death of who can scream and shame the loudest. And all it does is alienate people in the middle who want to find a solution which is humane, modern and common sense.
- Ayesha Hazarika, Evening Standard

Not only was the column offensive to those vast swathes of women who have been bullied and attacked for having the ‘wrong views’ on the gender debate, her response to the relatively polite and measured criticisms following its publication was pretty dire.

Hazarika appears to be claiming that this debate is an equal playing field. She is also implying that feminists have not yet attempted to find a solution by being ‘reasonable’.

Women’s Place UK has been calling for reasonable and fair discussion since it was founded. There are many other groups and individuals that have bent over backwards trying to find common ground, only to be told, ‘NO DEBATE!’

I have lost count of the number of times I have attempted to engage in a reasonable, polite discussion with trans activists. Over the years I have been physically attacked, screamed at, lunged at by gangs of protesters, bullied and harangued, and been regularly subjected to rape and death threats. I don’t recall having ever said anything even vaguely threatening to those that scream “Nazi”, “bigot”, “fascist” in my face as I prepare to give a presentation on male violence. Ironic, isn’t it?

Fawcett has a rather shameful history when it comes to this debate.

In its Sex Equality 2016 report, in which the authors were so firmly on the fence they would have been tweezering out splinters for weeks, Fawcett accused me of being ‘transphobic’. The only ‘evidence’ used to justify this claim was a quote (comprising of subjective opinion) from an LGBT publication. The claim was later removed after complaints from myself and other feminists. As journalist Sarah Ditum wrote to the then CEO:

One may have good-faith disagreements on the issue of what gender is, and how trans people should be integrated into the women’s sector. One may disagree with certain statements or positions. But to deliberately cast other women as the “bad” feminists, regardless of their dedicated histories of activism and intellectual labour, and in apparent ignorance of the misogynist harassment directed at them, is unforgivable.
- Sarah Ditum

Here we are half a decade later.

In failing to speak out about the Forstater case and its wider, positive implications for women at work, Fawcett failed to do the one job it is mandated to do. In a climate of unbridled misogyny, it let women down. As such, it ought to disband and let actual feminists take over.

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

it is about time females stood up for themselves and well done Maya Forstater. All the hard won rights of women should not be overturned by a vanishingly small percentage of hardline trans activists. I have no problem with trans people, but as usual people push too far to the extremes. I have a problem with children being tampered with, with biological men participating in female sports and biological men being accepted into women’s spaces on the basis of a gender declaration.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lesley van Reenen
jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

It seems that trans – women are on the attack and that trans – men do not seem to be a big part of the debate.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago

To me this is a bit like reading about the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945, or the Iran-Iraq War of 1979 to 1989. I always come away wishing there had been a way for both sides to lose.
Julie’s been spewing bile for decades. Now for a change she’s having bile spewed at her, by people with more victim status points and who can insult her and her tribe with total impunity.
Who was it again who lowered the tone of public debate to this level? Let me guess, was it men?
You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Jon you clearly haven’t been following this actually NON debate. Google terfisaslur for starters. Facebook bans for simply saying (truthfully) that sex cannot be changed it’s coded in every cell. Look at what happened to JKR.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
1 year ago

There IS no middle ground on this issue.

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago

“In a climate of unbridled misogyny” ? these are women’s groups infighting , are they oppressing themselves and other women now?
when your only tool is a hammer all you see are nails eh Julie?

Last edited 1 year ago by George Glashan
Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
1 year ago

Given that a single google search shows that there are 72 genders, 52 genders and 112 genders, we’re in the minority ladies and gentlemen so please tread carefully

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
1 year ago

Many thanks Julie for this lucid piece. It is a contrast to the earlier piece today by Mary Harrington who for once seems confused (or at least confusing) about feminists and biological sex.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

… the war between trans-activists and feminists.

This is disingenuous – the majority of trans-activists are women. Feminist women. You may make “no true Scotsman” claims, but you are probably in agreement with the trans-activists on every single other issue. It’s your own tribe that split. Please stop pretending otherwise.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

No the majority of trans activists are men who claim to be women. Big difference.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Well to be fair, there are the handmaidens.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Sharon you obviously haven’t seen the the pitched battles being fought between feminists and trans activists.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lesley van Reenen
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

The trans-activists, and I mean female ones, are also feminists! They’re just ‘intersectional’ ones rather than’gender critical’ ones.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

GC women understand intersectionality very well. It’s the libfems who keep telling us that men are a type of women and equating our preference for just a few single sex spaces to wanting to exclude Black women from white women’s facilities. So much misogyny.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alison Wren