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Women’s Space

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, August 1st, 2021 - 58 comments
Categories: feminism - Tags: , , ,

This post is for women commenters only.

Following up on the Women’s Day post a few weeks ago, here is another post for women, renamed Women’s Space.

The intention is to create women’s space as a positive environment for feminist and other politics that are important to women. You can read the background on this here.

This is a trust model. I’m asking this post be for cis women/biological women only, and that men and people who gender self-identify as women refrain from commenting. Everyone is welcome to read, and the usual Open Mike and Daily Review spaces are still there for a wide range of discussions as are any posts put up by authors.

I fully support all groups of people with their own politics to create space for their own discussions. This is about diversity and valuing many voices, that may also enhance when we come together in mixed and general debate.

Usual TS rules still apply.

This week I’m introducing a new feminist online space Women’s Liberation Aotearoa,

Women’s Liberation Aotearoa is a group for left wing feminist women who support organising democratically for women’s liberation in New Zealand and internationally.

Content includes blogging and long form writing from a range of feminists, and commenting is enabled. WLA are also on twitter. From their website, Principles of Women’s Liberation Aotearoa

Women’s Liberation Aotearoa recognises and acknowledges Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa/NZ. We aim to uphold the spirit of Tino Rangatiratanga and act in accordance with that aim in all our affairs. In particular, we uphold Mana Wahine.
Women’s Liberation Aotearoa is a participatory democratic organisation which asserts that:

  • the full liberation of women is only possible in a society that is based on, and operates within, egalitarian and cooperative principles in all spheres;
  • the liberation of all women is inextricably linked to the freedom of all people from economic exploitation and all forms of oppression that flow from and are used to enable that exploitation;
  • women’s liberation will be progressed when women have full active democratic participation in society, and collectively take leading roles in social structures and decisions that affect our lives;
  • given the biological reality of women’s role in child-bearing and the social reality of a greater role in child-rearing, the liberation of women improves the overall well-being of children.

Specifically, WLA believes all women must be :

  • able to fully and freely participate in all avenues of life, political organising and decision making;
  • guaranteed full pay equity, i.e. equal pay plus effective engagement with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value;
  • economically independent through the mechanisms of a guaranteed living income and a raft of social support systems which reflect the value, to the wider economy, of domestic work and child care;
  • free from all forms of patriarchal control;
  • free from all forms of racism and associated unfair / unlawful discrimination;
  • guaranteed the right of reproductive sovereignty;
  • free from both the threat and fact of all forms of violence in the home, the workplace and in public, including physical violence, rape, sexual abuse, and emotional and psychological abuse;
  • free to gather and to organise in sex-segregated spaces;
  • free to express and assert same sex attraction without facing any forms of discrimination or harassment;
  • free from prostitution, pornography, trafficking and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation, which children must be free from too;
  • able to ensure they and their children have access to factual, unbiased information about such issues as medical consent, biological sex and the social construction of gender.

58 comments on “Women’s Space ”

  1. Anker 1


    So appreciate all you work on this Weka. And your sound comments.

    I was thinking of putting up a joke tomorrow about males in women's sporting competitions, but think that probably isn't a good idea. Will post something then though

  2. TeWhareWhero 2

    It's great to see a socialist women's movement re-emerging from the liberal feminist hiatus.

    • weka 2.1


      Thing about that Principles list is I can't recall how long it's been since I've seen feminism like that in NZ. It's like waking from a sleep.

  3. KSaysHi 4

    WLA "free from prostitution" – not sure I agree with that one. Exploitative prostitution. Otherwise, good stuff WLA!

    • Molly 4.1

      I'm of the opinion that the industry of prostitution, like that of gambling, has exploitation in its DNA

      You may have high rollers and winners, but that is only achievable on the broken lives of others.

      Julie Bindel wrote a great book about this issue including research from NZ: Pimping Prostitution IIRC.

      • KSaysHi 4.1.1

        Thanks Molly. Will try to find it.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Redline….available through the "Feeds" section on this site… has a library of works pertaining to the issue of women in society. The one posted in February this year opens by exploring how changing the words used to describe the selling of (mostly women's) bodies for sex has attempted to sanitize and normalize 'the oldest profession'.

          The term ‘sex work’ has come to replace the word ‘prostitution’ in contemporary discussions on the subject. This is not accidental. The phrase ‘sex work’ has been adopted by liberal feminists and powerful lobbyists in a deliberate attempt to steer the narrative on prostitution.

          Smoke and Mirrors

          Superficially, the term ‘sex work’ is intended to make prostitution sound more palatable. It is used to remove the negative connotations of the sex industry and those who work within it. However, sanitising the horror of prostitution with such benign terms is a monumental disservice to the tens of millions of prostituted women around the world. Their experiences cannot be celebrated as ‘work’.

        • Molly

          Should also add that the beneficiaries of the prostitution industry, are usually not the prostitutes themselves, but the pimps, brothel owners, madams (not to mention the scores of johns who avail themselves of the transaction process to get a bit of abuse in to random (most often) women. I hold concerns about the almost invisible trafficking of women with English as a second (or non-existent) language, that have no knowledge of how to get support, help or even an understanding of how to report abuse or harm.

          If you have driven some of the streets of Auckland where the girls on the street look very, very young and seen the age of the men who approach them, you would ask yourself – has our NZ version of decriminalisation protected the girl, or merely protected the punter from prosecution?

          I also seem to remember Chris Carter, during the submission process mentioning that they had determined that over 2/3 of prostitutes used some form of narcotic, in order to get through the work day. Surely, that result would have some impact, I thought. But I never heard him mention it again. The decriminalisation of a industry were the majority of workers felt the need to medicate, was celebrated as a step forward.

    • Mika 4.2

      I think that for socialists there is no way to see prostitution as acceptable. I liked this article about the history of Marxist and socialist opposition to prostitution.

      if prostitution is not labor, what is it? The answer is simple. Sexual slavery; contractual rape


  4. Anker 5

    Great new site. Congratulations Weka and others

  5. francesca 6

    Weka , you're fantastic!

    what a breath of fresh air

  6. Odette 7

    Thanks for this post. I am growing increasingly concerned about the erosions of woman’s rights across the board. In US law, there is only reference to what woman can and can’t do with their bodies – no such reference for men. How can laws state what a woman can and cannot do because of our sex and not have anything similar that references males? Anyway this appealed to me today – I am so sick of society dictating for women.

  7. Odette 8

    Sorry struggled to cut and paste – I’m old – my excuse anyway! The quote was “We live in a world where girls and women are FINED for trying to cover up while playing sports, but also EXPELLED from schools if their shoulders are showing.

    Again, I dare you to ask why we are angry. “

  8. Kate 9

    What's next, a safe space for New Zealanders who were born in New Zealand only? I'm sure this comment will be deleted but I am one of many cis women who thinks the voices of all women are relevant to feminism.

    • weka 9.1

      Do you object to the Māori seats in parliament? Should Pākehā who feel they are indigenous be allowed on the Māori roll?

      • Anita 9.1.1

        I would object to Māori seats in Parliament in there was a rule that people could only vote for those seats if their parents had chosen the Māori tick box on their birth certificate.

    • weka 9.2

      Why would your comment be deleted? Have you missed how central to this whole thing is allowing open and honest debate? It's not GCF that are running No Debate.

      Besides, please read the Policy and understand how commenting on TS works.

      • Anita 9.2.1

        You moved my comment. That doesn't sound like "open and honest debate".’

        To paraphrase my comment:

        It is offensive, bigoted and intolerant to attempt to define who is an adequate woman.

        If we’re talking about a women’s space, then we’re talking about a space for women. Not just women who meet the poster’s narrow definition.

        • Molly

          Just curious…

          Does your definition of women include those whose only change is self-id?

          And do you have any opinions on how ignoring biological sex when conducting research on domestic (or other violence), doing clinical trials for drugs and dosages will detrimentally impact on both women and transwomen?

          It would be great if you could comment on specific areas of concern, and perhaps provide clarity on why issues around changing biological sex on birth certificates is benign. (I personally think that despite the extra cost, an additional field should be added, which would both resolve those problems and provide validation).

          So now you have done berating, let's get into a specific discussion.

          Do you recognise there may be issues with allowing the biological sex field to be changed in terms of health and statistics?

          • Anita

            Ata mārie Molly,

            There are a couple of places in your questions where you have conflated gender and (biological) sex.

            The consultation Stats NZ about the sex and gender identity statistical standards are a really useful starting place for how government is acknowledging they are different and recording them. Here is the link.

            And yes, for the record, I believe gender is purely identity. I understand many of the complexities of domestic violence (research) in rainbow communities, I believe both sex and gender need to be considered in some medical research (and treatment for that matter).

            • molly

              Thanks, Anita.

              If you can point out where I have conflated gender and sex I will try and do better.

              The issue regarding medical research is a big one, only recently has the medical community realised that research conducted primarily on biological males has resulted in protocols and treatments that while therapeutic to male patients have been detrimental to women. I'm not going to link for you here, because y don't want you to think I'm directing you but you can search and see the studies and articles for yourself.

              I also believe that if biological sex is ignored then results will also be skewed to the detriment of trans patients as well.

              Similarly, in regards to the accuracy of research into violence and harm, educational achievement etc.

              My proposal is to record biological sex, and include a space for gender identity – not replace it.

              What do you think?

            • Molly

              PS. Sorry, Anita can't access those documents on my pitiful phone.

              • Molly

                Just went on the computer. The discussion document is terrible to make sense of, and to my mind conflates the collection of concrete data with the accommodation of people's feelings. If anything, it confuses the issue of biological sex and gender identity by saying that the issue is confusing to some people, so clarity is not sought, accommodation of that confusion is entrenched. My suspicion is that for many years the data entry of that protest, just recorded European.

                There are references to "original birth certificate" when they consider biological sex to be important, but the fact is not everyone will be honest in filling out forms.

                Clarity can easily be made:

                Biological sex recorded – Male/Female/Other

                Gender Identity recorded.

                Many people fill out forms with Ethnicity on them without feeling that their primary identity is that ethnicity. They understand that this data is often collected and collated for reasons other than their personal identity. Of course, there are some protest inclusions. For many years, I did not want to tick European, and included Other: NZer on any official forms. But I understood the reason behind collection, just wanted that extra option included.

                The discussion document creates confusion, that may not otherwise exist.

                Eg. An identified problem in the two part question approach.

                The options. male and female are used in the question sample for biological sex AND then repeated those options in the following question regarding gender identity.

                Surely the gender identity question can spare the ink to offer:

                Identify as male, or Identify as female

                to avoid the confusion, which the discussion document goes to great lengths to add to with their solutions.

                I'm not convinced by the link that the concerns being raised are dealt with by the discussion documents you linked to. If anything, the approach has further confused the issue and created unnecessary opportunities for harm for both women and trans community members.

                I can support the reissuing of birth certificates to include gender identity on them, BUT disagree wholeheartedly with the ability to change the biological sex recorded at birth, especially in regards to self-id.

            • Molly

              Found it. When I burbled about Lesbians, some Bisexuals and Polyamorists being women too, in my lead up to the idea of the persecution of some being same sex attracted.

              That implies cis women are only heteronormative, rather than biological sex and gender identity matched. I apologise for the error, and will take greater care.

    • Molly 9.3

      I am one of the woman who is concerned that slogans and spray and walk away comments are being used instead of meaningful engagement. The fact that other women are engaging in this behaviour is not a validation of it. So, this is a fairly safe space, but not necessarily a fortress.

      Are you now able to discuss some of the issues raised on The Standard in the last few weeks regarding the negative impacts on both women and transwomen if biological sex on a birth certificate is able to be changed, instead of an additional field being added?

      • Anita 9.3.1

        I am one of the woman who is concerned that slogans and spray and walk away comments are being used instead of meaningful engagement.

        I totally agree! That’s why weka having a passing crack at some women and then telling them they can’t even engage about it really bothered me.

        I’m not convinced that The Standard should be a platform for such conservative bigoted nonsense. But if that’s what it is then the posters should at least engage on the issue and allow for dissenting voices rather than, as you say, spray and walk away.


        [I asked you twice, politely, to read the Policy and About. Either you haven’t understood or you think that the rules here don’t apply to you. It’s not a free for all here, we have boundaries in place to ensure good debate culture. I’m going to spell them out.

        1. don’t attack authors, we protect authors for very good reasons, they’re the ones that write posts and provide space for comments. Without them, TS wouldn’t exist.
        2. don’t pick a fight with moderators, we value our time more highly than you. If you don’t understand, ask.
        3. instead, make your arguments about the political issues and be prepared to back up your comments as requested. This is how you get respect here, and how you avoid moderation.
        4. don’t misrepresent my politics and views. I will cut some slack on all of the above if I see good intent or people that can bring good debate game to the commentariat, but I have almost zero tolerance for people who make up shit about me and what I think eg the idea that GC views on sex/gender are conservative is a hack gender activist line that is used to undermine debate. You can certainly argue that x belief is conservative (and you will have to back it up) but stop tying it to me. If you don’t understand the difference, ask.

        I will address some of your points in comments, so it’s clear what the problem is. You’ve got other commenters engaging with you in good faith, so please take this as an opportunity to shift your focus and debate the politics.

        You’re now in premod until I see an acknowledgement of the rules and that you will follow them. If you still don’t understand, ask and someone will explain further. – weka]

        • francesca

          regarding the ability to change biological sex on a birth certificate , what is your understanding of the term female?

        • Molly

          I do appreciate your engagement above Anita.

          I hope you will put forward your thoughts on some of the concerns raised. I note your discomfort on this forum but hope you will persist in discussing the issues.

        • weka

          and because it matters, one of the places I learned how to moderate was watching the absolute shit that strong feminists used to cop on TS. If you start your arguments with having a go at an author, that tends to escalate. I'm not willing to put myself through that. If you stick to the politics, you will be fine.

        • weka

          mod note for you above Anita.

          • Anker

            Well said Weka. I support you 100%. I think you are a very fair minded moderator who really attempts to keep things at the level of the issues.

            Anita, you are not going to win much time from me coming on to this space and saying that you don't think the Standard should be a platform for such bigoted conservative nonsence. I am not aware of you commenting before. Perhaps yu have, but to be honest, I don't think that's a great start.

            A number of us on the Standard are Gender Critical. And we are allowed to be.

            A lot of this debate is likely to be from a gender critical perspective. If you want to try and censor the Standard, I don't think that will go so well. I think its safe to say a number of women on this site are pretty pissed off with being told there is no debate and that they must accept and concur with gender ideology.

            • Shanreagh

              A lot of this debate is likely to be from a gender critical perspective. If you want to try and censor the Standard, I don't think that will go so well. I think its safe to say a number of women on this site are pretty pissed off with being told there is no debate and that they must accept and concur with gender ideology.

              We tried to ask questions and have a debate in the last posting. We got a series of mantras and no effort to address the points that were raised. I would welcome someone with knowledge of the no debate ideology and womens' issues re-reading the previous thread and answering the queries we had then without being shouty etc. Also the ones raised here.

              It would be great if the person could also discuss this from a Human Rights perspective as I do not believe that taking away rights from one group to give them to another is within the spirit and intent of human rights legislation.

              While I would like all these points covered, I feel it won't happen in a reasoned and positive way.

              Surely someone from the 'no debate' community has a 'tick sheet/cheat sheet' as most people entering into a politicised arena such as this do. 'Back in the day' we brainstormed all the questions that could be asked both as a way of checking to make sure what we were proposing was reasonable and also to enable us answer those who disagreed or had concerns in a careful and respectful way.

              Somehow the issue in many quarters has become conflated with unisex toilets and whether they should be built/continue.

        • Anita

          I have read both the Policy and the About. I believed (and still I think do, tho I will go back and reread my comments) that I was walking on the light side of the line. I think I have been consistent in criticising what you have written and not you as a person.

          I am happy to commit to continuing to considering carefully my posts and whether I am critiquing the idea or the person.

          • weka

            Thanks Anita, much appreciated (and your explanation of your perspective and willingness to take another look).

  9. Sabine 10

    This is a good read about homelessness in OZ, and how it seems to impact older women more and more.

    I wonder, how the breakdown is in NZ for the homeless. We know that we have at least some 4000 odd kids in emergency housing, how many women are there and how many of them are over 55?


    • Molly 10.1

      The housing affordability and access issue has such immense impact on the wellbeing or individuals, families, community and society that the failure to deal with it by any government seems to be the knowing infliction of deliberate harm. And the greater impact on women just further shows how the fight for recognition of inequality of the sexes is an ongoing one.

    • KSaysHi 10.2

      It was an issue back in 2014ish, there was a noticable problem in Wgtn, the men’s shelter was open at night, but there were virtually no other places women could stay.

    • Tabletennis 10.3

      The pay equity data from NZ Stats is, since 2019, collected based on the employers provided gender self-identification of its staff, not sex.

      According to Stats NZ it shows a dramatic lowering of the gender pay gap since 2019. However, there is no way of knowing if indeed pay equity for women has improved.
      The data is simply insufficient to make that conclusion.

      The question is who would benefit from being able to produce Stats that are not telling you exactly what you want to know? The government, the employers…?

  10. Here is a 2019 opinion by Crown Law on the BDMRR Bill.


    I wonder if there is any update on that.

    As a public servant used to seeing and assessing Regulatory Impact Statement that go up with any proposed legislation I read the RIS for this bill with amazement. It is the 'thinnest' RIS that I have ever seen, and I have seen a few.


    Someone has had a no to seeing the redacted material from the RIS.


    I see where the rude approaches to people with a differing view are supported.


    Instead of upholding the right to disagree the authors of this paper have labelled the views of those who do not agree with them as 'anti-trans' and 'nonsense.'

    Some I have spoken to who are against the wide open and possibly anti bio female Govt proposals, are in fact supportive of extending rights to gender minorities. But of course that does not suit the narrative that has been built up.

    • weka 11.1

      SUFW put this up today. I haven't had the chance to dig into it to make sense of it yet.

      • Sabine 11.1.1

        this is a good follow up under that thread.

        • KSaysHi

          Good. There is a ton of arguing around policies that needs to be managed ahead of time and it looks (?) like this does that.

          • Sabine

            i don't trust this lot as far as i can throw an apple.

            they have promised so much for so long now, that unless i see this protected properly i don't believe a word she – the minister – says.

            So deeds are the thing for me, words are cheap for this lot.

  11. Weka

    Just a thought is there merit in asking someone from the official side of those supporting the bill to do a guest post here subject to

    1 following the rules of debate, and to them

    2 going through the couple of threads and gathering up the questions and answering them?

    Or am I just hopelessly naive and well meaning? Or are they so secure in the support they have that they do not need to respond to bio female minions?

    • weka 12.1

      depends on who you mean. Two of the male TS authors have written pro-self ID posts. I think they've missed the issues from women's pov. If you want hardout gender activists, I'm not going to do the mahi of making that guest post happen because I'm at risk here and it would just be plain wrong. I also am doubtful that anyone would be willing to write a post that wasn't largely about hating on terfs and calling GC women bigots and I just can't be bothered with the shit that would ensue from that.

      What I really want to do is write posts about the three pieces of legislation that are shifting women's rights, explaining what they are and what matters. We can then debate that. It's not the hard out gender activists that I'm interested in, it's the people who don't yet know what the whole thing is about. My original plan was to do posts that talk about the impact on trans people as well as women. I don't know if I have the spoons to do those posts.

      • Shanreagh 12.1.1

        That's fine Weka. I guess I was wanting to hear from them in a reasoned way not the way they seem to have come into the Womens space here to date as this seems to want to denigrate the experiences of women. You are right we have heard enough of 'bigots' and' terfs' and this seems to be the response to anyone who they deem as being critical of them.

        This sounds great.

        What I really want to do is write posts about the three pieces of legislation that are shifting women's rights, explaining what they are and what matters. We can then debate that. It's not the hard out gender activists that I'm interested in, it's the people who don't yet know what the whole thing is about.

  12. Anker 13

    I have asked some gender ideology supporters some questions.

    one was what human rights do you feel transgender people don’t have at the moment? I told them it was a genuine question, but nothing.

    I would be interested to know exactly what they want eg freedom for trans women who have not medically transitioned to be in public change rooms? Play women’s sport? Be able to conduct physical exams on women? Be called a real women?
    Do they see any problems for biological women with this?

  13. KSaysHi 14

    Speak Up For Women just pinned this tweet asking for submissions to protect free speech. Beth Johnson:

  14. KSaysHi 15

    Time to subscribe! Speak Up For Women recent presentation in Wellington

  15. Molly 16

    Hi weka,

    After watching (and participating) in some of the circular patterns of discussion on concerns (I refuse to write women's concerns, because it should concern everybody) about the impact on women's rights of the proposed law changes, and their applications in the real world, I was trying to come up with a solution.

    A basic answer that might work would be a differently structured post.

    eg. A post about the impact on women's sports. The body of the post could briefly outline the subject and describe how the structure works and the code of conduct, and then the reply buttons to the original posts can set out a series of statements. If commentators agree with the statement they can move on to the next one. Or elaborate or quantity as they see fit – but only on that statement.

    Reply 1. Transwomen inclusion in sports is important.

    Reply 2 The categories of men's and women's sport exist, because of a recognition of the physical differences of skeletal structure, muscle mass, strength between biological sexes.


    The reply button remains for any commentator who believes that important points have been missed out.

    If this was something you believe would work (although it most likely would require a high level of moderation, which would fall on you) I would be happy to work on something with you and others. I've only entered the conversation because the heavy lifting on this topic seemed to be falling on a couple of commenters (without progress) such as you and Anker. If it works, we can utilise the structure for other concerns.

    • weka 16.1

      this is a really interesting idea. I have some concerns about the amount of work involved, but it might also be the impetus to get some posts up that are presenting the issues in a much clearer way (atm, it's a bit all over the place).

      I can see this model working with other areas of politics too.

      How would you feel about me emailing you to discuss this? (I can get your email address from the back end).

  16. Sabine 17

    In this article it seems to me that one of the regrettable acts of sexism at the workplace includes something of an alleged rape. The providing drinks until stupor to a 19 year old women who was then subsequently taken to bed by someone 20 years her age. One may say it is sex that she regrets, but then maybe she has to remember something like 'consenting' to actually regretting. But what do i know. For what its worth, it seems to me that the victim of this regrettable act of sexism at the workplace is regretting plenty having ever gone to this event in the first place.

    And considering all the other stuff that was allowed at this 'workplace', this account is actually not shocking at all. What is also not shocking at all is that we talk about this as if this is akin to having a cup of tea and that chances are no charges will be laid.

    NZ 2021


    In this article a Gym offers its excuses to the regrettable act of misgendering a prominent athlete in a tweet. Which was reported as a hate crime.


    A screenshot of Viney's post was shared to social media, where several Twitter users expressed their disdain and said they reported the post for hate speech.

    City Kickboxing trainer Mike Angove, managing director of Combat Sports Tours, said the post was "mistakenly worded".

    "We would like to apologise for the use of the wrong pronoun referring to Laurel Hubbard's gender. City Kickboxing takes the importance of being an inclusive, diverse environment for all members seriously."

    I have no idea what that twitter post said. I have not seen it, so will not comment on that at all. I will take them by their word and accept that they used the wrong pronouns and i also accept that they are very sorry about it.

    NZ 2021

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