Stonewall tells Oxford to ‘expand the definition of mother’

Stonewall has told Oxford University to “expand the definition of ‘mother’” and avoid using ‘she’ in order to “drive forward LGBT inclusion”.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, documents revealed the controversial lobby group’s feedback on how the University could improve its ranking in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, which rates an organisation’s ‘inclusivity’.

In 2020 the University ranked 76th overall and 11th in the education sector. Stonewall praised the University’s “gender neutral” family policies except for the use of the word ‘she’ in its maternity policy.

Influencing policy

Stonewall also recommended “reviewing the glossary to expand the definition of ‘mother’ to ensure it is fully inclusive”.

Under ‘community engagement’ the report praised the University for utilising its “position and influence in the community” but said it should use social media to promote LGBT issues more frequently.

Professor of Sociology at Oxford, Michael Biggs, said the University “is supposed to be governed democratically by its academics, and yet here is an outside lobby group ordering the administration to change its policies without the normal scrutiny”.

Public sector exodus

Stonewall’s discredited ‘Diversity Champions’ scheme has also been mired in controversy for months.

Public sector organisations including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Crown Prosecution Service, Ofcom, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the Department of Health and Social Care have quit Stonewall schemes in recent months.

Naomi Cunningham, a barrister who chairs women’s rights group Sex Matters, said the schemes “are designed to reach deeply into every aspect of the client organisations’ operations.”

“It is wholly improper for any public body to be signed up as a Stonewall member or to submit to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.”

Also see:

ICO orders Oxford Uni to disclose Stonewall feedback

Stonewall: ‘Bodies are not inherently male or female’

House of Lords ditches Stonewall scheme following ‘pregnant people’ row

UCL becomes first university to formally abandon Stonewall scheme

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