Campaigners rage at Scottish government plans to change ‘woman’ definition The Times 30.08.20

The original article is here.

Scottish ministers have been accused of “exceeding their authority” over plans to expand the definition of a “woman” under controversial gender reforms.

The government faces a legal challenge amid growing anger that a man who identifies as a member of the opposite sex will be legally recognised as a woman under the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018.

A campaign body, For Women Scotland, said the law, which is intended to address historical under-representation of women on public boards, is “fundamentally flawed” and a petition for judicial review lodged by lawyers has been accepted by Edinburgh’s Court of Session.

“It is untenable that ‘woman’ is defined differently across the laws of Scotland,” said Trina Budge, of the group. “This case is vitally important to stop the erosion of women’s rights in law, and we are grateful for the public support in bringing this action to hold the government to account.”

The petition argues that the redefinition of “woman” goes against the grain of the Equality Act 2010 and decades of anti-discrimination law. It maintains that equal opportunities law is reserved to Westminster and that Scottish ministers failed to assess the impact of applying the new law “on the need to advance equality between women and men, or consider the need to foster good relations”.

The Scottish government told For Women Scotland this month that it is “satisfied that the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 and subordinate legislation made and statutory guidance published under it are within legislative and devolved competence”.

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