Feminist charity quits Scottish Women’s Aid network in dispute over male director

Our thanks to John for this. Extracts:

A feminist charity has quit the Scottish Women’s Aid network after being threatened with expulsion for appointing a man to its board.

The group, called Moray Women’s Aid, had accepted Graham Leadbitter onto their committee eight years ago but it was after his role was discussed at a national training day that umbrella charity Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) warned they had breached conditions of their women-only membership…

In the resignation letter, Elle Johnston, services manager for Moray Women’s Aid said the appointment of Mr Leadbitter, a local councillor and a member of the White Ribbon campaign which works to stamp out violence against women, was based on merit.

She added: “It is whether you have the necessary skills and passion that is the most important, not whether or not someone has a beard.

“We have 10 members on our board, all the others are very strong females working alongside men to achieve equality for all. Not all men are abusers, [my emphasis] there are good decent men out there…”…

In a letter this week to network members, SWA (Scottish Women’s Aid) Chief Executive Marsha Scott said: “It recently came to our attention that Moray Women’s Aid has appointed a man to their Board of Directors.

“Moray Women’s Aid management team and board have confirmed they will not change their stated position… we are sorry that Moray has left our network”.

The letter, sent to all remaining members of the network, says the departing group has been “offered support” to change their position, adding “SWA appreciates that as feminists we will not always agree”.

While acknowledging that SWA’s articles include a commitment to reflect the diversity of Society, Ms Scott said they were also clear that membership is only open to groups staffed and managed by women. [my emphasis]

So, SWA is committed to reflecting the diversity of society, but demands that only groups which are exclusively staffed and managed by women can be members. Got it. That makes sense.

The article ends with some weasel words from the man at the centre of the story:

Graham Leadbitter said he had “huge respect” for (SWA). He said: “If this creates some debate about equalities, that is all well and good but I wouldn’t want to detract from that vital work”.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • cheannaich

    I know it is in the wrong place but I couldn’t find your article on women campaigning to retire at 60. How is this for barefaced privilege:http://citywire.co.uk/money/waspi-hits-75k-funding-target-for-legal-challenge/a962482?ref=citywire-money-shooting-gallery-list

    • Link to petition here //j4mb.org.uk/2016/10/20/a-petition-for-the-state-pension-age-for-women-to-be-reduced-from-66-to-60/. Thanks for piece on legal challenge, just published.

  • cheannaich

    Unbelievable! How do Scottish Womens Aid still qualify for public sector cash with such blatant anti-equality employment practises? Boardrooms are forced to have women directors. There is more chance of a female becoming a Special Forces Commando than there is of a male working for SWA or probably any WA.
    The old feminist we are special card keeps coming out.

    • William Gruff

      It’s not ‘anti-equality’ when women do it because they need unfair advantages over men in order to be equal to us, but they can still do whatever men can do. That makes sense if you look at the issue through gynocentric spectacles.

  • I am shocked and appalled. What’s the world coming to that a Women’s Aid affiliated DV charity starts appointing staff on the basis of merit? Utter nonsense. It’s the slippery slope. How can the hard won bastions of feminism be maintained against these encroaching tides of vile meritocracy? It will spread, mark my words! Before long people will be saying there’s no need to have Boards 50% female. Great God, they might start saying that men should be primary school teachers next. We must nip these pernicious egalitarian tendencies in the bud! Men have penises and are patriarchs, that’s all you need know! Let’s have no more of this ‘merit’ nonsense! If Women’s Aid isn’t a safe space for wimmin,, where is?