A judge has ruled against For Women Scotland’s bid to have trans women removed from an act which aims to increase the number of women on public boards. The ‘Gender Representation on Public Boards’ act was first introduced in 2016, and was challenged by For Women Scotland two years later, with the group raising over £100,000 for the legal battle where organisers argued that the inclusion of trans women “goes against the very grain of the Equality Act 2010.”
However, on March 23, Scottish supreme court judge Lady Wise announced the group had lost its case, saying: “The 2016 Act was within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and does not offend against the fundamental principle of equality of treatment.” Wise noted that she had received a “helpful” submission from charity and advocacy group Scottish Trans, which “addressed some of the equal opportunities arguments from the perspective of transgender people”, and pointed out that “there is no single legal definition of the term ‘woman’ that applied throughout the UK.”
For Women Scotland said it is “hugely disappointed” by Wise’s decision, but Scottish Trans celebrated the news, with manager Vic Valentine describing it as an “important” move. They continued: “We hope that any trans woman who has felt unsure about applying for a position on a Scottish public board due to this judicial review will be reassured by this decision. We believe women should have their voices heard and be represented on public boards, and trans women should not be singled out to be excluded. We are pleased that this outcome means that all women, including transgender women, will continue to have that representation guaranteed.”
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