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Women more likely to support gender-critical beliefs than men, tribunal hears

Allison Bailey claims that Stonewall induced her employer, Garden Court Chambers, to investigate her over her support of gender-critical beliefs.
Allison Bailey claims that Stonewall induced her employer, Garden Court Chambers, to investigate her over her support of gender-critical beliefs.

Women are more likely to support gender-critical beliefs than men, the tribunal of a barrister who is suing an LGBTQ charity has heard.

Allison Bailey claims that Stonewall induced her employer, Garden Court Chambers, to investigate her over her support of gender-critical beliefs.

Gender-critical beliefs include that sex is biological and immutable, and that the word “woman” is defined as “adult human female”.

Ms Bailey is suing both Stonewall and Garden Court for discrimination, and has raised more than £495,000 to fund her legal case.

The opening of the tribunal was due to take place on Wednesday, but was delayed as Ms Bailey was in hospital.

On Friday, the tribunal instead went ahead with evidence from two witnesses from gender-critical organisations, director of Fair Play for Women Dr Nicola Williams, and director of Woman’s Place UK Dr Judith Green.

They were questioned about Ms Bailey’s assertion, as part of her case against Stonewall and Garden Court chambers, that women are more likely to support gender-critical feminism than men.

The tribunal heard that neither Fair Play for Women nor Woman’s place were membership organisations, and therefore neither had a database of their supporters.

However, Dr Williams and Dr Green maintained that the majority of their supporters were female.

According to Dr Williams’ evidence, gender-critical meetings are “well attended” with the sex of attendees “overwhelmingly female”.

In her witness statement, Dr Williams said that her organisation had run four fundraisers since 2018, with half of the donors anonymous and half identifying themselves. Of those who identified themselves, she said that around 90% were women, while 10% were men.

Counsel for Garden Court chambers Andrew Hochhauser showed the tribunal a 2020 survey by YouGov that found that women were more likely than men to agree with the assertion that “transgender women are women”.

He asked Dr Williams how this was consistent with the assertion that women were more likely to support gender-critical beliefs than men.

“I accept the gender identity of a transgender person,” she said.

“But I say that sometimes when sex matters, their sex has to be taken into account as well.

“When it comes to occasions where sex matters, that is what we talk about, and that is why we see lots of female people at meetings.”

During their evidence, the pair clashed with Garden Court’s legal team on whether Ms Bailey’s two assertions were claims about the population as a whole or just about the supporters of gender-critical feminism.

It was put to Dr Green that her evidence for her assertion was partly based on a survey collected at only one event.

The survey was from a conference co-hosted by University College London’s Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group which was attended by around 939 people shortly before lockdown in 2020.

The attendees were asked about their sex on a voluntary form. Of those who attended, 350 said they were women, and seven said they were men. She said this was “representative” of her experience of gender-critical meetings.

She was asked how she could make the assertion that women are more likely than men to support gender-critical beliefs when her pool of respondents was so small compared to the population at large.

“Women are more likely than men to be supporters of gender-critical feminism if the supporters of gender-critical feminism are overwhelmingly women,” she said

She argued that since 50% of the population are women, and the supporters of gender-critical feminism are more likely to be women, it follows that women are more likely than men to support gender-critical feminism.

She added: “I don’t make any reference about the public’s passive beliefs.

“I gave evidence in support of the claim that women are more likely than men to be supporters of gender-critical feminism.”

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