WHRC statement on our use of language - September 2021

The Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC) promotes women’s sex-based rights. We created the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, which reaffirms women and girls' sex-based rights as set out in CEDAW and challenges the discrimination we experience from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity.’

To protect women’s sex-based rights we must be able to describe our own reality using clear language. We understand that men can never be women, no matter how they identify. Therefore, when WHRC speaks out to defend women’s sex-based rights we do not use the language of gender ideology. We will not use wrong sex pronouns under any circumstances. This is a clear approach that reflects our understanding of reality; is not hateful, unkind, bigoted or extremist. We are unable to safeguard women’s rights effectively while twisting our language to include men.

Defending our sex-based rights requires clarity. Our Declaration states that women have the right to hold and express opinions [Article 4]. When we speak of maternity [Article 2], reproductive rights [Article 3], male violence against women [Article 8], surrogacy [Article 3], prostitution [Article 8], participation in sports [Article 7] and the need for single-sex spaces such as prisons, hospital wards and refuges [Article 8], we are speaking of how these affect women. We know that only women can get pregnant, only women will need an abortion, only women are exploited in surrogacy and only women can be lesbians. Without the ability to say so, we cannot defend our rights.

WHRC was founded by radical feminists and has its roots in radical feminist theory. Like other feminists and women’s groups we have noticed a rise in interest from young women who can see their sex-based rights are under threat and have turned to radical feminism as the means to protect them. We owe it to young women to reassure them that they do not have to adopt the obfuscating language of gender ideology. WHRC leads by example. We will never agree to call a man a woman. No woman should be forced to say what she does not believe. Women have the right to criticise ideas with which they disagree and which they believe are harmful [Article 4].

WHRC is a non-partisan group that welcomes any one who agrees with the nine articles of our Declaration. We have 20,000 signatories and many volunteers from all over the world. We welcome the many new signatories and followers we have gained over the past few weeks. You can read more about WHRC and the Declaration on our website and in our FAQs.