Stonewall tells employers to not use 'mother'
4th June 2021

Stonewall tries to BAN word ‘MOTHER’: Pro-trans organisation tells hundreds of public and private employers to say ‘parent who has given birth’ instead – sparking calls for inquiry into how group has such influence on Whitehall

  • Charity issues guidance to employers wanting to make its equality leaderboard
  • More than 500 have applied to be on its Workplace Equality Index in the last year
  • But some of Stonewall’s latest advice has sparked a backlash from campaigners

Hundreds of organisations wanting to be included on Stonewall’s equality leaderboard should replace the term ‘mother’ with ‘parent who has given birth’, the LGBT charity has said.

The controversial group has issued various guidance to employers wanting to make the cut on its Workplace Equality Index, which has attracted more than 500 applications in the last year.

A number of government departments, such as the Home Office, the Department for International Trade and the Ministry of Justice – ranked as high as fifth – feature on the list, as well as the likes of MI6 and the British Army.  

The guidance includes urging employers to add gender pronouns to email signatures, outlawing single sex toilets and changing rooms, and running a rainbow laces campaign, the Telegraph reports.

Its latest advice, to ban the word ‘mother’ has sparked a backlash, however, with campaigners calling for an inquiry into how the group has had such an influence on Whitehall.

Hundreds of organisations wanting to be included on Stonewall’s equality leaderboard should replace the term ‘mother’ with ‘parent who has given birth’, the LGBT charity has said

It comes after it was revealed earlier this week that the Equalities Minister Liz Truss wants the Government to quit a diversity scheme run by Stonewall amid a row over trans rights.

Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money. 

After criticism from the gay former Conservative MP Matthew Parris, Ms Kelley told the BBC: ‘With all beliefs including controversial beliefs there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they’re harmful or damaging – whether it’s anti-Semitic beliefs, gender critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that.’ 

According to Stonewall there are more than 850 organisations, including 250 government departments and public bodies such as police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, signed up as ‘diversity champions’.

Membership to the scheme starts at around £2,500, which according to the LGBT charity’s website, buys employers access to expert advice and resources to make their workplaces ‘inclusive’. 

However, the charity was embroiled in a new row over transgender rights last week, when its chief executive Nancy Kelley likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism as she defended its pro-trans campaigning.

The EHRC, Britain’s equalities watchdog, then cut ties with a Stonewall scheme for ‘woke’ workplaces after claims that it curbs free speech among staff.

Its decision comes amid accusations the scheme is encouraging public bodies and firms to adopt policies that create a ‘culture of fear’ among workers who disagree with transgender ideology.

A letter to the feminist campaign group Sex Matters from new commission chairman Baroness Falkner revealed: ‘We wrote to Stonewall in March to let them know that we would not be renewing our membership, and this has now expired.’

Now, documents seen by the Telegraph reveal the extent of the guidance Stonewall gives employers wanting to make its leaderboard.

Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money.

Edinburgh University was discouraged from using the term ‘mother’, instead being told ‘parent who has given birth’ was more strongly recommended.

Similarly, Merseyside Police was told ‘pregnant employee’ was ‘a more inclusive term’, while the Welsh government removed ‘mother’ from its Maternity policy, even though ‘father’ still remains.   

Maya Forstater, co-founder of campaign group Sex Matters, told the paper: ‘The Committee on Standards in Public Life [should] undertake a public inquiry as to how an organisation that is basically a lobby group got into such an influential position in so many institutions’.

Stonewall said it is ‘confident in our advice on the Equality Act which is based on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equality Act Code of Practice’.

Stonewall: The controversial LGBT charity which has come under fire in recent weeks 

Just this week, the Equalities Minister Liz Truss said she wanted the Government to quit a diversity scheme run by Stonewall amid a row over trans rights.

Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money. 

After criticism from the gay former Conservative MP Matthew Parris, Ms Kelley told the BBC: ‘With all beliefs including controversial beliefs there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they’re harmful or damaging – whether it’s anti-Semitic beliefs, gender critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that.’ 

According to Stonewall there are more than 850 organisations, including 250 government departments and public bodies such as police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, signed up as ‘diversity champions’.

Membership to the scheme starts at around £2,500, which according to the LGBT charity’s website, buys employers access to expert advice and resources to make their workplaces ‘inclusive’. 

However, the charity was embroiled in a new row over transgender rights last week, when its chief executive Nancy Kelley likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism as she defended its pro-trans campaigning.

The EHRC, Britain’s equalities watchdog, then cut ties with a Stonewall scheme for ‘woke’ workplaces after claims that it curbs free speech among staff.

Its decision comes amid accusations the scheme is encouraging public bodies and firms to adopt policies that create a ‘culture of fear’ among workers who disagree with transgender ideology.

A letter to the feminist campaign group Sex Matters from new commission chairman Baroness Falkner revealed: ‘We wrote to Stonewall in March to let them know that we would not be renewing our membership, and this has now expired.’

Before that, a former top judge claimed transgender groups such as Stonewall are having too much say over hate crime laws that could cause freedom of speech to ‘suffer’.

Charles Wide, a retired Old Bailey judge, said last month only an ‘limited range’ of views was being sought out to advise on a possible expansion of legislation.

The government currently looking at expanding hate crimes, and the Law Commission is consulting on whether misogyny, age, sex workers, homelessness, and some subcultures should become protected groups.

But the judge fears the Commission’s over reliance on certain campaign groups has seen it move away from its non-political brief to draw on ‘contentious and controversial sociological theories’.

Writing for the think tank Policy Exchange, he said: ‘No adequate thought seems to have been given to the difficulty of reaching beyond a limited range of academics and organisations to the full variety of academic voices, organisations, commentators and members of the public who have no organisation to speak for them.’

He singled out LGBT campaigners Stonewall, saying the Commission was treating them more like ‘a consultant than consultee’. 

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