JK Rowling slams Shadow Equalities Minister

JK Rowling accuses Labour of cancelling women on International WOMEN’S Day after their Shadow Equalities Minister refused to give a definition for ‘female’

  • Anneliese Dodds said it ‘depends on what context is’ when asked for definition
  • MP added Equality Act ‘doesn’t say how you define’ words ‘adult’ and ‘female’
  • Reacting, JK Rowling accused shadow minister of failing to have a ‘backbone’
  • It comes after the author took aim at Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill 
  • JK Rowling has accused Labour of cancelling women on International Women’s Day after their Shadow Equalities Minister refused to give the Party’s definition for ‘female’.

    Anneliese Dodds said it ‘depends on what the context is’ when asked for the definition by BBC presenter Emma Barnett on Woman’s Hour.

    The MP for Oxford East added that the Equality Act ‘doesn’t say how you define’ the words ‘adult’ and ‘female’.

    Reacting to the comments, Rowling, 56, posted: ‘Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay’

    She continued in a series of tweets: ‘Apparently, under a Labour government, today will become We Who Must Not Be Named Day.’ 

    Anneliese Dodds (pictured) said it 'depends on what the context is' when asked for Labour's definition of what a woman is by BBC presenter Emma Barnett on Woman's Hour

    Anneliese Dodds (pictured) said it ‘depends on what the context is’ when asked for Labour’s definition of what a woman is by BBC presenter Emma Barnett on Woman’s Hour

    Reacting to the comments, JK Rowling, 56, posted: 'Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay'

    Reacting to the comments, JK Rowling, 56, posted: ‘Someone please send the Shadow Minister for Equalities a dictionary and a backbone. #HappyInternationalWomensDay’

    Ms Dodds was quizzed about the definition while discussing Labour’s position on updating the Gender Recognition Act to enable the process of self-identification.

    Answering what Labour’s definition of a woman is, she said: ‘Well I have to say there are different definitions legally around what a woman actually is. 

    ‘I mean you look at the definition within the Equality Act and I think it just says someone who is adult and female I think, but doesn’t say how you define either of those things. 

    ‘Obviously then you’ve got the biological definition, legal definition..’

    Ms Barnett interjected: ‘With respect I didn’t ask for that. What’s the Labour definition?’

    The Labour and Co-operative politician continued: ‘I think with respect it does depend on what the context is surely. Surely that is important here. 

    ‘There are people who have decided they’ve had to make that transition, I’ve spoken with many of them and it’s been a very difficult process for many of those people, and understandably because they live as a woman and want to be defined as a woman. 

    That’s what the Gender Recognition Act and a Labour process brought into place.’

    She added: ‘When it comes to the operation of the single-sex exemptions that is spelt out within the Equality Act quite rightly. 

    ‘When it comes to sport for example, it says that single-sex exemption, for example if that’s necessary for the safety of participants in sport or if it’s necessary in order to ensure fair competitions, that is spelt out within the Act.  

    Alongside criticising Ms Dodds' comment, Rowling also tweeted a picture of SNP MP Joanna Cherry captioned: 'This is what a woman who owns a dictionary and a backbone looks like'

    Alongside criticising Ms Dodds’ comment, Rowling also tweeted a picture of SNP MP Joanna Cherry captioned: ‘This is what a woman who owns a dictionary and a backbone looks like’

    ‘I think it’s really important that we’re actually looking at what the legislation says.’ 

    Alongside criticising Ms Dodds’ comment, Rowling also tweeted a picture of SNP MP Joanna Cherry alongside the caption: ‘This is what a woman who owns a dictionary and a backbone looks like.’

    It comes after the author took aim at Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, claiming it will ‘harm the most vulnerable women’.

    The author took aim at the Bill which will make a series of amendments to the Gender Recognition Act, which has been in place since 2004.

    Should the legislation be passed, it will drop the need for those wishing to change gender to show medical and psychiatric reports.

    It will also slash the time someone has to live in their new gender from two years to six months.

    Rowling, 56, criticised Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison, who spoke in Holyrood last week about the Bill – but she praised author and journalist Susan Dalgety for her ‘most searing, heartfelt and courageous response yet’ to Miss Robison’s ‘astounding claim’.

    It comes after the author took aim at Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform Bill, claiming it will 'harm the most vulnerable women' (First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pictured)

    It comes after the author took aim at Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill, claiming it will ‘harm the most vulnerable women’ (First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pictured)

    Ms Robison told MSPs there was no evidence that ‘predatory and abusive men have ever had to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive and predatory behaviour’.

    Ms Dalgety, who was sexually assaulted as a child, branded the statement ‘crass’.

    Rowling tweeted: ‘The law @NicolaSturgeon’s trying to pass in Scotland will harm the most vulnerable women in society: those seeking help after male violence/rape and incarcerated women.

    ‘Statistics show that imprisoned women are already far more likely to have been previously abused.’

    Changes to the Bill have been proposed in a bid to ‘streamline’ the process.

    If passed, it will also include the lowering of the age at which people can apply to change their gender from 18 to 16.

    Rowling has faced a continued onslaught of accusations of transphobia since publishing an essay on her website in July 2020 in which she argued that biological sex is real.

    The Harry Potter author also revealed that she was ‘a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor’.

    She was labelled a Terf – trans-exclusionary radical feminist – after taking issue with the term ‘people who menstruate’.

    In December Rowling was once again forced to deny that she is transphobic as she argued for sex, not gender identity, to be the ‘basis of decisions on safeguarding’.