Our response to Jayne Egerton's comments about our work in her article in the Radical Notion
Women’s Declaration International (WDI), formerly known as the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC), promotes the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights at an international level. Women’s Declaration International UK (WDI UK) is the UK chapter of Women’s Declaration International. The Declaration reaffirms that women’s rights are rooted in women’s experiences as a sex, and challenges all the forms of discrimination against women and girls that result from the replacement of the category of sex with ‘gender identity’ in law and policy, and from ‘surrogate’ motherhood and related practices. The Declaration can be found at www.womensdeclaration.com
In August 2021 Jayne Egerton published an article called ‘Women and the Religious Right’ in the journal The Radical Notion. This is a subscription journal, and the article was not made generally available until Woman’s Place UK uploaded it to their website and tweeted about it in July this year. We were unaware of the article’s content until then. On reading it, we were shocked at the way in which it misrepresents our work.
The article implies that WDI and WDI UK work with right-wing Christian groups, although it does not explicitly say so. It creates the impression that we work with right-wing groups on the basis of our associations – and assumed associations - with other feminist groups. It includes no facts which support this impression, as there are no such facts. Jayne’s article also includes assertions about our working relationships with other feminist groups which are inaccurate.
One of the groups concerned is the US group Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), who are involved in strategic alliances with right-wing Christian groups. Jayne’s article asserts that,
“There are considerable overlaps between WoLF and WHRC, in terms of UK- and US-based activists who play the leading roles in both groups. This offers some explanation as to why they’ve ended up embracing the same strategy.”
Saying that WDI are “embracing the same strategy” as WoLF is tantamount, in the context of Jayne’s article, to saying that WDI work with right-wing Christian groups. We do not work with any right-wing groups, and we never have. We have a good relationship with WoLF, but we are different organisations who work in different ways.
The other group on which Jayne’s speculations about our work are based is WDI USA. Jayne correctly states that WDI USA were involved with the Title IX Coalition in the US, which campaigns to keep women’s sports single-sex. It includes Save Women’s Sports and WoLF, as well as conservative/right-wing groups. WDI USA were involved with this campaign until June this year. Jane wrongly implies that therefore WDI and WDI UK also work with right-wing groups. As with all WDI chapters, WDI USA and WDI UK make independent decisions about the alliances each of us make. WDI is proud to be an international non-partisan feminist organisation promoting women’s sex-based rights.
Jayne states that WDI’s campaign is “driven from the US and UK”. It is not. WDI has chapters in 22 countries across 6 continents. Each country chapter decide their own campaigning strategies according to their country’s particular political circumstances. Jayne’s assertion that women in the US and the UK drive the campaigning work of women in the WDI chapters in the rest of the world insults those women.
Jayne could have contacted us to find out who we work with before publishing the article. Instead, she chose to make insinuations about our work based on our associations with other feminist groups. We are shocked by this lack of concern for accuracy in an article which sets out to critique the work of other feminists. Given how obviously speculative Jayne’s assertions about WDI and WDI UK are, we are surprised that The Radical Notion agreed to include them in the article without contacting us for clarification.
We have asked Jayne and the editor of The Radical Notion, Jane Clare Jones, to meet with us to try to reach a constructive resolution of the article’s misrepresentations about our work. When we have tried to arrange a date on which to meet, Jayne has stated that she could not meet us due to other commitments.
The Radical Notion has offered to publish our response to Jayne's article as a letter in the next issue of the journal, due to be published in December. We have sent this statement in the form of a letter to the journal and look forward to its publication. We also ask that the Radical Notion make this statement/letter available on its social media platforms as soon as possible.
Woman’s Place UK made Jayne’s article available on their website several months after it was published. We assume that the reason they did not seek to check its accuracy with us before doing so was because we had not made a public statement about it during those months. We are asking them to append this statement to Jayne’s article on their website, and to make it available on their social media platforms as soon as possible.