Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into Reform of the Gender Recognition Act

Yes… that again…


At the end of October 2020, we learned that the Women and Equalities Select Committee is holding an Inquiry into Reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004).


Although we thought we had put this to bed when the Report on the Consultation into the Gender Recognition Act was published by the Government Equalities Office on 22nd September, it is not unusual for a Committee to establish an Inquiry to respond to Government recommendations or proposals for legislation.


The Women and Equalities Select Committee is mostly comprised of new members who will not have been involved in the previous Consultation held in 2018.  Therefore it is important that we make sure that they understand the issues at stake and that women’s voices are heard.


The call for written submissions closes on Friday November 27th.  


The Inquiry is split into two sections:


•    The Government’s response to the GRA consultation

•    Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation


Many of the questions are similar to those in the original Consultation on the GRA from 2018.


You do not have to answer all the questions, and can focus on the ones that are most relevant.


We will be making a submission focussing on the following question in relation to women in prison:


Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and usable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?

We urge you to make your own submissions.  You can use the resources here to focus on women in prison.  You may find the interview with KPSS Director Kate Coleman a helpful introduction to the issues.


The women’s rights organisation WPUK has produced a guide to making submissions, including links to useful resources concerning other issues.

Points to note:


•    Submissions should not be published, e.g. on a blog, on social media, or elsewhere.

•    If accepted by the Committee, submissions will be published by Parliament and will be publicly available.

•    You can request that your submission be anonymous.

•    Matters currently before a court of law cannot be referred to, neither can matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent.  This means we cannot refer to the Judicial Review, even though it has been adjourned.


The Committee has provided clear guidance about the form that submissions should take:




To successfully make a submission via an online form on a committee’s website, documents need to:


•    Be less than 25 MB in size

•    Be in Word (doc, docx, rtf, txt, xml or odt format, not PDF)

•    Contain as few logos or embedded pictures as possible

•    Contain no macros

•    Comprise a single document. If there are any annexes or appendices, these should be included in the same document.


It also assists the committee if those submitting evidence adhere to the following guidelines. Each submission should:


•    State clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation, for example the submission could be headed ‘Written evidence submitted by xxxxx’

•    Be concise - we recommend no more than 3,000 words in length, unless otherwise stated in the inquiry terms of reference

•    Begin with an executive summary in bullet form of the main points made in the submission

•    Include a brief introduction about yourself/your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence

•    Have numbered paragraphs

•    Include any factual information you have to offer from which the committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses for their reactions

•    Include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the committee to consider.


The call for written submissions closes on Friday November 27th.