Gender Representation on Public Boards (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Closed 29 Jan 2024

Opened 8 Jan 2024

Published responses

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When the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in 2017, it did not include a definition of “woman”.

The Bill was amended to include this definition during parliamentary scrutiny.

The Scottish Government’s policy memorandum explained that the amendment was made “to make the Bill more inclusive by including trans women who were living as trans women even if they did not have a full gender recognition certificate under the Gender Recognition Act 2004.”

Following the judicial review and reclaiming motion brought by For Women Scotland, the Court of Session decided that the definition as added by the stage 2 amendment was outside of the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. This meant it was not lawful.

Purpose of the Bill

The Scottish Government has said that the Bill will amend the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 to remove the definition of “woman” in section 2.

The Scottish Government has taken the view that there are no suitable alternative approaches to removing the definition from the statute book following the Court of Session’s decision. The Scottish Government believes the amendments in this Bill will ensure that the definition, which no longer has legal effect, is removed from the face of the statute book.

The specific definition that this Bill will remove is:

““woman” includes a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment (within the meaning of section 7 of the Equality Act 2010) if, and only if, the person is living as a woman and is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of becoming female”.

Find out more about the Bill

How to submit your views

Please submit your views using the online submission form, linked to below.

This Call for Views is focused on the merits or otherwise of the Scottish Government’s specific proposal contained in this Bill. The views you share here should therefore focus on the scope of the Bill and what is being proposed.

The Committee would welcome views on the following question:

This Bill will update the statute book by removing the definition of "woman" from section 2 of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018. This change is in line with the Court of Session ruling. Do you have any views on this proposal?

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. 

The call for views closes on Monday 29 January 2024.