On the 16th October, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it will be publishing guidance in January 2022 to clarify the law around single-sex spaces in public buildings such as schools.
Baroness Kishwer Falkner, the chair of the EHRC, told the BBC’s Woman’s Hour programme that she has received many complaints from “experts in the field” who point out that the law is not being used to protect women and girls’ single-sex spaces. It will be even better if she also hears from people who are affected by this.
As a reminder, there are exceptions in the Equality Act which allow organisations to provide single-sex spaces such as changing rooms where it is to achieve a “legitimate aim”. This provision is based on biological sex, not gender identity.
At Safe Schools Alliance we are contacted every day by parents and teachers concerned that children are not being protected in school. Whether it be the introduction of mixed-sex toilets, the policy of allowing a trans-identified child to share changing facilities with the opposite sex, or the use of schools’ resources that replace the word ‘sex’ with ‘gender’ throughout, making it impossible to meaningfully apply the provisions in the Equality Act, we know that this is happening to many of you.
Baroness Falkner needs to hear from you with your experience of how the law isn’t working.
If you have concerns about an issue in your child’s school or the school where you work – whether or not you want to raise them directly with the school – please write to the EHRC on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copy Safe Schools Alliance on email@example.com.
Copy the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can use our simple template below:
Dear Baroness Falkner
I am writing to thank you for committing to produce guidance that will make the law on single-sex spaces clearer.
I want to let you know that I am having a problem with [my child’s school / the school I work at] which I hope your guidance will help with.
My [child’s] school has [explain the issue and its impact on the affected child or group of children].
I hope the new EHRC guidance will clarify for the school how to deal with this situation in a way that supports all children.
If possible, please also copy your MP. Your MP needs to hear about it if the law isn’t working to safeguard children.
You can find your MP using Find MPs – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament.
If you have made a complaint directly to the school, you can also add that you would like your MP’s support.