Dorset Women CIC is an inclusive organisation that operates under English law. Inclusivity and Safety are two of its core values. As such, we promote inclusion, and challenge victimisation and bullying.
When we refer to Women in any of our documentation, policies, communication or activities we mean any person who identifies with Womanhood, the Feminine, femininity or being a woman in any way that is of relevance to them; including trans women, non-binary and gender-fluid people. This policy outlines our approach to the inclusion of trans women, non-binary and gender fluid people in our activities and decision making.
Women’s Action Network Dorset is a women-focused organisation. Many of our events welcome all people who identify with, and are supportive of, our mission and purpose including men.
At times we will run, promote or collaborate with, events and activities that are exclusively for women only. When we do, we will undertake an Equality Impact Assessment to ensure we are operating lawfully as well as a Risk Assessment to ensure the safety of all people involved in that activity.
We recognise that, at appropriate times, maintaining a women-only activity is important because women face significant inequality in society, face violence and abuse (the vast majority of which is perpetrated by men) and have health and social needs that are distinct from the needs of men. We know that some women will not, or cannot, access activities provided in a mixed-gender setting. As part of our feminist values, Women’s Action Network Dorset is committed to challenging all forms of oppression, discrimination, and victimisation.
The Equality Act 2010 protects any trans person who ‘intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment’, which means that trans women who have taken any steps to move towards living as women are covered by the legislation. Women’s Action Network Dorset’s activities are open to all self-identifying women who have, or are taking steps towards living as women, in line with the provisions of the Equality Act.
We will take a person-centred and case-by-case approach to the inclusion of non-binary and gender fluid people within our activities. We recognise that some people who have a non-binary or fluid gender may be presumed to be women, or to live wholly or partly as a woman, and these individuals share many of the experiences that women do and face similar forms of discrimination. In these cases, it may therefore be entirely appropriate for those non-binary or gender fluid people to access our activities, if they feel comfortable to do so (understanding that they are likely to be ‘read’ as women) and feel that this will benefit them. We recognise that some trans women also identify as non-binary or gender fluid, and if they are living, the majority of the time as women they should also be included.
We aim to ensure that all women have a positive experience with us, regardless of whether they are trans or cis-gender, or any other factors. We acknowledge that trans women may face additional barriers in accessing our activities and that we must take additional steps to address these, including:
In line with the Equality Act 2010, Schedule 9, Part 1, Paragraph 1, most roles at Dorset Women CIC require the volunteer, committee or Board member to be a woman. This definition includes all self-identifying women as described above – including some non-binary people, if they were assigned female at birth and are continuing to live mostly in this gender or identify and live as non-binary trans women.
We do not ask about a volunteer’s trans status during the recruitment process and if a disclosure is made, it is not taken as a relevant criterion for the selection process.
We recognise that disclosing a person’s trans history to colleagues, partners or the general public without their consent is highly distressing to that individual and can also be unlawful. We will always seek permission of the trans person before disclosing any information to others.
If a volunteer notifies us that they are gender fluid or are considering transitioning, a meeting should be held between a committee member and that person to discuss in confidence how they wish to consider the following issues:
We will work collaboratively with the volunteer to mutually agree an action plan.
Dorset Women CIC will work only with other organisations that operate within our policy and under the Dorset Women’s Charter that it will co-design with partners, network members and local communities within Dorset. That means, that where it collaborates and partners with, signposts to, or promotes the activities of, other organisations who exclude trans women or non-binary and gender fluid people it will only do so where these activities are lawful and where Equality Impact Assessments and Risk Assessments have been carried out and outcomes published and deemed to be appropriate and relevant. We reserve the right to refuse to collaborate and partner with, signpost to, or promote the activities of groups and organisations who operate exclusionary practices which fall outside of the law.