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We, the undersigned call upon The Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Women, The Hon. Christian Porter, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and members of the Women's Cabinet Taskforce to take a stand against the erosion of women's rights and protections and preserve the on-going credibility and legitimacy of science.

On 27 May 2020 The Australian reported that Australia's top scientific body (the Australian Academy of Science) has now adopted the definition of woman to mean 'anyone who identifies as a woman'. The article goes on to say, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel backs the Academy's position claiming this supports 'an inclusive culture within science'. A spokesperson for the Academy claims the definition is in line with treaties signed by Australia that ‘promote equality between women and men’.

We seek to understand how this decision was arrived at. Were all members of the Academy involved in this decision and what specifically is the scientific basis for this unscientific assertion? Further, there are no International treaty obligations Australia is party to that privilege gender identity over biological sex, so what treaty obligations is the spokesperson for the Academy referring to exactly?

If the leading authority for science in this country, has decided that any man who claims to be a woman is now scientifically considered to be a woman simply by declaring so, then what implications does this have for women and for science?

What does this mean for matters pertaining to women's sports, women's leadership initiatives, scholarships for girls and women, women's political representation, women's prisons, women's shelters and more?

What does this mean for issues such as scientific evidence for women, medical treatment for women, statistical data for women, funding for science and medicine for women's and girl's focused studies, and more?

This petition seeks to encourage much-needed discussions with women and women’s groups that understand the importance of upholding sex-based rights for women and girls and ensuring the protection of science as a respected discipline devoid of political influence and subjective hyperbole.

We are concerned about how this arbitrary definition of ‘woman’ will adversely impact the 12.6 million women and girls in Australia now and for years to come.

We ask, how can this unscientific claim be considered 'inclusive' when it ultimately seeks to exclude women?

We believe this matter needs to be addressed urgently and that all women and girls in Australia deserve an explanation. Thank you for considering our petition.

The Academy's definition of 'woman'

Woman/Women: -

Anyone who identifies as a woman, including cisgender (personal gender identity corresponds with sex assigned at birth), transgender (personal gender identity does not correspond with sex assigned at birth), non-binary and intersex persons who identify as a woman (or girl)

Link to PDF 'Women in STEM Decadal Plan'. Ref. page 61


Link to the article in The Australian


Women's Action Group would like to take this opportuniy to thank everyone so much for signing our petition. Once we have secured as many signatures as possible, we will seek to have our concerns outlined above adequately addressed by relevant Ministers. Kindly note, due to a Cabinet re-shuffle we have updated who will receive our petition, and have also included members of the Coalition Government's Women's Cabinet Taskforce.

Please be sure to share our petition to all your platforms so that we can reach our target as soon as possible. Again, we thank you for your continued support.

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