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What is a woman anyway?

The friction between those who believe in a more traditional understanding of gender and trans activists has thrown up some interesting questions about how either side of the debate views women. For some it’s about motherhood, others femininity and some believe is just a feeling or an identity which can be picked up by anyone.

In this fascinating debate, Joanna Williams argues that being a woman is more than biology, it’s whatever the woman herself makes it to be and she suggests, we need to move beyond gender categories and instead explore human potential. Filmed at the Battle of Ideas 2018, the speakers are Heather Brunskell-Evans, Chrissie Daz, Kathy Gyngell and Joanna Williams. The chair is Ella Whelan.



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  1. We use different words for males and females of any species we interact with. Cow, ewe, mare, sow, queen, hen, doe, jenny, woman, vixen, duck, pen, are all names of female animals. We don’t need an hour and a half to discuss which animals get to identify as ewes and whether our use of the word ewe needs to be widened to be more inclusive of rams, lambs, chilvers, and wethers. Stop using my language to stroke your fetish.

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