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Shoving women to one side

JK Rowling: castigated for stating the obvious? Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty

The far right and the far left have found the one thing they can agree on, says Pamela Paul in The New York Times: “Women don’t count.” The right’s position is better-known – it has “aggressively dedicated itself to stripping women of fundamental rights” for decades, with the overturning of Roe v Wade its latest victory. Far more bewildering is the fringe left’s “misogynist agenda”. Campus groups and civil rights organisations used to fight hard for women. Today academics, uber-progressives, transgender activists and many others are working towards the opposite end: “to deny women their humanity, reducing them to a mix of body parts and gender stereotypes”.

Even the word “woman” is now “verboten”. The American Civil Liberties Union, a “longtime defender of women’s rights”, tweeted that Roe v Wade was a disproportionate threat to “black, indigenous and other people of colour, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, young people”. The “noble intent” behind omitting the word “women” is to make room for the relatively tiny number of transgender people. But the result is to “shove women to the side”. This is not just heartbreaking; it’s counterproductive. “Tolerance for one group need not mean intolerance for another.” Respecting transgender women doesn’t mean you have to castigate those, like JK Rowling and academic Kathleen Stock, who point out that biological differences might require “specific needs and prerogatives”. Alas, “misogynists from both extremes of the political spectrum” relish the power to “shut women up”.