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I need your help wise women of the feminist board

(30 Posts)
sashh Tue 16-Feb-21 10:46:30

Hopefully you remember my, 'email the DWP' thread link here

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4161334-Does-anyone-fancy-emailing-the-DWP

Well I copied my previous mail to the Equality Advisory and Support Service, They don't seem to see a problem. Can anyone help me with the wording of a reply?

Thanks in advance, here's their reply to me.

Thank you for contacting the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) regarding the matter mentioned in your email.
The EASS can provide you with advice and guidance on the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998; however, if you require a legal opinion on the merits of your case, you would need to consult a lawyer. For more information, please see our legal disclaimer.
In order for us to advise you correctly on this matter, we need more information regarding the specifics of the incident.
Is your argument surrounding the DWP’s assessment which you have asked to be performed by an individual of the same sex as you?
Is there a particular reason as to why you need a same sex assessor?
With regards to the use of ‘gender’ instead of ‘sex’, can you please clarify in what way is this disadvantaging you?
If you are disputing semantics, this is likely to be regarded as a service complaint, not an equality one, but answering the questions above will help us understand the situation better.
I look forward to your response.

OP’s posts: |
BlackeyedSusan Tue 16-Feb-21 10:52:30

why the fuck should someone have to disclose abuse to get a same sex advisor? angry

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 16-Feb-21 11:02:04

Ooh! That's a truly captured answer isn' it?

Something about With regards to the use of ‘gender’ instead of ‘sex’, can you please clarify in what way is this disadvantaging you? strikes me as utterly unprofessional too! Though maybe we should all help you take them a their word answering the questions above will help us understand the situation better. The first one is quite easy. It isn't for you to explain why you object, it is theirs to explain why they thought they could glibly re-word the law!

The EASS can provide you with advice and guidance on the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998; however, if you require a legal opinion on the merits of your case, you would need to consult a lawyer. For more information, please see our legal disclaimer. I don't require any legal assistance but can only repeat that by choosing to change the wording of the EA2010 you have left yourselves open to challenge. Why did you change the wording of that law? What did you hope to achieve by doing so? What legal basis do you have for doing so?

DaisiesandButtercups Tue 16-Feb-21 16:33:50

BlackeyedSusan

why the fuck should someone have to disclose abuse to get a same sex advisor? angry

This

42goingon90 Tue 16-Feb-21 16:46:36

You're not being discriminated against because DWP used the word gender instead of sex. They're probably having a good giggle as they pass your email around. I imagine it's a very boring job so perhaps I should commend you!

FemaleAndLearning Tue 16-Feb-21 16:52:38

A question of semantics not equality!

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 16-Feb-21 16:55:11

A question of playing fast and loose with a legal document.

The EA even has an explanation for why it uses the terms it does, included within the statute.

Changing the terminology changes how the law is interpreted, acted upon.

So yes, it could lead to discrimination. That's the point if all the time spent over the wording of laws.

sashh Wed 17-Feb-21 06:30:38

You're not being discriminated against because DWP used the word gender instead of sex

So you would be happy to undress in front of a male with a beard who self IDs as a woman on Thursday afternoons?

OP’s posts: |
Eowynthewarrior Wed 17-Feb-21 07:18:48

Our rights rest on laws. Laws rest on words. Words are our only protection.

midgedude Wed 17-Feb-21 08:00:37

But they are creating a loophole that is likely to be exploited to discriminate against women

Just the suggestion that gender is real means that people will strengthen gender assumptions, harmful to both men and women

OldCrone Wed 17-Feb-21 09:36:49

With regards to the use of ‘gender’ instead of ‘sex’, can you please clarify in what way is this disadvantaging you?

Well, the meanings are quite different. Do they not have a dictionary or access to the Internet? It only took a couple of seconds to find these definitions.

Sex: either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.

Gender: either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.

Also, do they make a habit of rewording laws and then claiming that the rewording makes no difference? I'd like to see them defend that in a court of law.

sashh Wed 17-Feb-21 10:04:06

Still thinking about what I want to say.

In my head an analogy would be if they changed 'religion' to 'headwear' because some people grow / cut their hair or cover their head for religious beliefs. Technically it is 'more inclusive' because it covers more people but reducing a Sikh man to his turban is pretty insulting.

I suppose the fact I have a strongly held belief that 'gender' is harmful might also come into this.

And can I just remind people this is the organisation that advises individuals and businesses how to comply with the Equality Act.

OP’s posts: |
midgedude Wed 17-Feb-21 10:41:16

Everyone has a sex not everyone has a gender identity?

AdHominemNonSequitur Wed 17-Feb-21 15:29:18

Are you prepared to take it futher, into a formal complaint? If so I'd go with something like this.

Dear Equality Advisory and Support Services (EASS)
Thankyou for your email response.

It is service complaint yes, not a request for advice at this time, but I do expect an Equality Advisory Service to be in line with current law. Under the Equality Act , 2010, there is no protected characteristic of gender . The two relevant protected characteristics which you have amalgamated and confused are gender reassignment and sex. Gender reassignment does not override sex, it is seperate (Unless an active Gender recognition certificate is in force, a person is considered to be their natal sex in law, and can be excluded from the opposite sex services, even with a GRC they can be excluded if it achieves a proportional aim. You have incorrectly interpreted the law, it is a common mistake, however you are the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), a public body charged with protecting and promoting equality according to the current law, not according to current cultural preferences. You are using misleading terminology on your Equality Statement and it needs correcting. This is a semantics issue if the guidance you give is different from the wording you use in the statement, otherwise it is a matter of acting unlawfully. Either way it needs correcting.

I attach the Equality Act 2010 statuatory code of practice for services, public functions and associations and refer you to page 37 (2.55 and 2.56) Which clearly states that Sex refers to a male or female of any age and the comparator is a person of the opposite sex which does not include gender reassignment.

equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/servicescode_0.pdf

With regards to the use of ‘gender’ instead of ‘sex’, can you please clarify in what way is this disadvantaging you?

It is incorrect and I would like to ensure that the public body responsible for advising me and others does not mislead or disadvantage anyone who would like to specify they receive a female only service or treatment by conflating the protected characteristic of sex and the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

Please advise me of what you intend to do to rectify the incorrect wording with a timescale.

42goingon90 Wed 17-Feb-21 18:12:39

sashh

*You're not being discriminated against because DWP used the word gender instead of sex*

So you would be happy to undress in front of a male with a beard who self IDs as a woman on Thursday afternoons?


Yes I would, however I'm not sure how is that relevant to the department of work and pensions.

jj1968 Wed 17-Feb-21 18:26:00

If any DWP assessor, or any agent connected with them, asks you to undress in a benefit's assessment you should immediately leave and contact a lawyer if not the police.

Thelnebriati Wed 17-Feb-21 18:28:15

42goingon90
ESA and PIP assessments are carried out by a healthcare professional on behalf of the DWP. If you are able boded and have never had one of these assessments it can be difficult to understand what the fuss is about.

ArabellaScott Wed 17-Feb-21 18:45:06

BlackeyedSusan

why the fuck should someone have to disclose abuse to get a same sex advisor? angry

This.

justicewomen Wed 17-Feb-21 18:48:26

The EASS are the wrong body to deal with this issue. You need a specialist discrimination solicitor. If you would be eligible for civil legal aid you can find your nearest by phoning CLA Advice Line on 03453454345 . Your claim is likely to be something like indirect sex and/ or disability discrimination in the provision of goods, services or public function (s29EA); and failure to do disability related reasonable adjustments, but a specialist solicitor can advice based on specific facts. The time limit is 6 months less one day from the relevant date (I haven't read the previous thread so forgive me if I get the detail slightly wrong)

jj1968 Wed 17-Feb-21 18:52:17

They shouldn't. If this is a reference to a PIP or WCA assessment you should be able to ask for a same sex assessor without giving a reason why.

42goingon90 Wed 17-Feb-21 19:07:04

jj1968

If any DWP assessor, or any agent connected with them, asks you to undress in a benefit's assessment you should immediately leave and contact a lawyer if not the police.


grin

stumbledin Wed 17-Feb-21 19:19:07

Before commentating and talking about solicitors etc., maybe re read the original thread. As OP has listed above.

This is about getting people who should be working within the law to correctlyl understand and represent the law.

It isn't about whether the individual writing in is personally discriminated against.

Please can we not have another derail.

Have to say I haven't changed my mind and whoever issues guidelines to local DWP offices should be asked to make sure that their local representatives are properly brief on the EA, where there is no mention of gender.

A local officer, who may be a woke university student doing temp work, isn't going to take this seriously or even understand the points being made.

At the very least the manager of the DWP Office should be asked to explain why their staff aren't properly trained.

Darcinian Wed 17-Feb-21 21:51:07

I'm surprised this hasn't made it into the press.

A government dept gets the law wrong and issues incorrect guidance.

Someone writes to tells them.

Government dept reacts by sending letters that could be summarised as "Yeah, so what, why do you care?"

Government dept does not correct their mistake.

It's like one of those you'll never guess what happened next stories.

MartiniDry Wed 17-Feb-21 21:55:46

Absolutely.
Equally, why the fuck should someone have to be abused to get a same sex advisor?

Oh, I forgot. We're women so we don't matter.

stumbledin Wed 17-Feb-21 23:24:15

Maybe you should submit this info to be part of the next week in the erasure of women?!

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