Scottish government erases the word 'mother' after instructions from Stonewall
Is it now time for a public inquiry into the charity's influence over public bodies across the UK?
Is there a word in the English language - any language - more loaded with meaning than ‘mother’?
Mother of the nation.
Add your own to the list. But the primary definition of the word ‘mother’, as set out by the Oxford English Dictionary, is clear:
The female parent of a human being; a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth; (also, in extended use) a woman who undertakes the responsibilities of a parent towards a child, esp. a stepmother.
You can be a mother without giving birth, you can be an absent mother, the mother of a dead son or daughter, but whatever kind of mother you are, you are a woman.
Or are you? A report in the Times today reveals that Scottish government has removed the word ‘mother’ from its policy on maternity leave following representations from Stonewall.
Documents released under freedom of information (FoI) legislation confirm that the charity wrote to the Scottish government last year encouraging them to adopt terms featured in their inclusive policy toolkit. The word mother now no longer appears on documents outlining maternity leave.
Investigatve reporter Stephen Nolan made the FoI requests for his BBC podcast ‘Nolan Investigates’ which looks at the influence Stonewall has on public institutions in the UK. You can listen here.
Public warning: Stephen Nolan @StephenNolan and his partner David Thompson @dt_ni have a unique broadcasting style. Their anarchic, sometimes sensationalist, approach to documentary journalism takes a little getting used to, but once you’re attuned to their shock jock production, their report is riveting and a very important contribution to the debate about gender identity and trans ideology.
Erasure of the word mother erases the significance of sex
But back to the word mother and the Scottish government’s decision to ditch it after pressure from a lobbying organisation.
As women’s organisation Sex Matters says, erasing the word ‘mother’ from policies that affect women erases the significance of sex “in the very area where sex is all important.”
A small number of trans men, who were born female and did not undergo a medical transition, give birth each year in the UK. Freddy McConnell is probably the most well known.
It is none of my business if they describe themselves as parent, birthing person, father. That is their personal choice, but I do object to having my legal identity as a woman - and mother - stolen from me by civil servants and politicians, desperate to assuage a powerful charity.
I am an adult human female.
And the Scottish government cannot deny me my reality. No matter how many Stonewall points its wins them.
As Sex Matters says, its time for a public inquiry into Stonewall and its influence over public life.
A public enquiry is long overdue.
Great stuff Susan. A public enquiry is essential- but who in the Scottish Parliament would be left untarnished? A handful- the majority of MSPs of every stripe are cheerleaders for Stonewall.
I think they may have jumped the shark with this latest, I’ve never seen so many angry ’normal folk’ on social media- sunlight is the best bleach, eh?