Social Work England swaps Stonewall LGBTQ+ staff inclusion scheme for alternative

Regulator says LGBT Foundation training academy is better fit for delivering equality plan than Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme

Source: Adobe Stock / Maxim

Social Work England has left a Stonewall scheme designed to increase inclusion for LGBTQ+ staff in favour of an alternative training programme.

The regulator said it was joining charity the LGBT Foundation’s training academy, on the grounds that it was a better fit for delivering its equality, diversity and inclusion action plan, published in February, than Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme.

The action plan commits the organisation to developing its culture as an “inclusive organisation that attracts, develops, supports, retains, and fully engages diverse talent”. This includes benchmarking itself against other organisations, assessing inequalities in areas including grievances, disciplinaries and promotions and striving to make recruitment more diverse.

Social Work England did not confirm how much it paid for the diversity champions scheme, though other members have reported paying £3,000, including VAT, per year.

Stonewall scheme aims

Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme is designed to make workplaces more inclusive for LGBTQ+ staff and offers member organisations guidance, an annual series of webinars and seminars, networking opportunities, discounted access to other training and the opportunity to have internal policies reviewed.

Social Work England announced it had joined the scheme in February 2021, as an example of action it had taken to further equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The membership was also mentioned on a webpage – last updated in May 2021 – designed to attract people to work for the organisation. This described diversity champions as a programme that “ensures workplaces accept LGBTQ+ staff without exception”.

However, this scheme was not mentioned in the regulator’s action plan, in relation to its objective to develop an inclusive organisation. It did cite its use of the talent inclusion and diversity evaluation (TIDE) benchmarking tool, through its membership of another body, the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI), which it joined in 2020.

Social Work England said it would be using TIDE to identify areas for improvement in all areas of workplace equality, diversity and inclusion.

In an emailed response in July to a social worker who had queried Social Work England’s membership of the Stonewall scheme, Social Work England said it would be leaving diversity champions in August.

LGBT Foundation offer

LGBTQ social workers

Photo credit: Adobe Stock/ nadia_snopek

The email, seen by Community Care, said that the LGBT Foundation’s scheme better complemented the resources available through its work with ENEI.

The academy currently provides a one-off package of training for staff on topics including equalities legislation, understanding the inequalities and barriers faced by LGBTQ+ people in the workplace and recognising discrimination, with the opportunity for staff to acquire an accreditation afterwards. These “champions” will then have access to ongoing training and networking opportunities.

“As an employer, we aim to develop our culture as an inclusive organisation that attracts, develops, supports, retains, and fully engages diverse talent,” said Sarah Blackmore, Social Work England’s executive director of professional practice and external engagement.

“We keep decisions about our membership of external schemes and tools under review annually to help us in this. We are looking forward to working with the LGBT Foundation training academy who we feel will fit well with our immediate needs.”

Commenting on Social Work England’s departure, a Stonewall spokesperson said that members “come and go depending on what is best for them at the time”.

“Our leading diversity champions programme continues to grow, and we’re proud to work with hundreds of organisations to help create working environments in which all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people can thrive.”

High-profile departures

Despite its growth, a number of high-profile public bodies have left diversity champions over the past 18 months, including the BBC, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care.

Though these organisations have made limited comment on their reasons for leaving, the departures have been linked in media reports to Stonewall’s stance in the public debate around gender identity and sex. Its view, that trans people should always be able to self-determine their gender and access services and recognition on that basis, is opposed by those who hold the gender-critical belief that this would, in certain circumstances, undermine women’s sex-based rights, for example, access to single-sex spaces.

Social Work England said leaving diversity champions was a business decision, not linked to these issues.

Questions over consultation with LGBTQ+ groups

In response to the switch, Leanne Taylor, a lecturer in social work and mental health law at the University of Kent and leader of its trans awareness in social work project, expressed concern that she and other trans and non-binary social workers had not been informed of the change in advance.

“I am part of a small group of people who are trans and non-binary who also do social work and we were surprised that none of us knew about this,” she said.

“I’d like to know how they discussed it with any representative service user groups as well, because they’re regulating the people who should be working with them.”

Social Work England declined to comment on whether it had discussed the move with LGBTQ+ social worker or service user groups.

Regarding the move to the LGBT Foundation, Taylor said: “I don’t know if it would be equally good until we learn more about them. I think a group as well known and experienced as Stonewall will always have the upper hand.”

Another social work academic who specialises in LGBTQ+ issues said: “Because [Stonewall is] the largest charity supporting LGBTQ people, and there’s so many people that engage in it, and they have so much more infrastructure, it is likely that the package of support they will provide is going to be greater.”

However, the academic described the foundation as “working to support the entire LGBTQ community, including trans individuals”, adding that when it came to public bodies like Social Work England,  “it is important that they think of LGBT rights across the spectrum of LGBT people”.


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42 Responses to Social Work England swaps Stonewall LGBTQ+ staff inclusion scheme for alternative

  1. Nollie September 13, 2022 at 5:10 pm #

    A less than charitable observer might conclude that Stonewall being shown the door by SWE was an inevitability once its paymasters at DHSC had waived goodby themselves.

  2. Frasierfanclub1 September 13, 2022 at 8:27 pm #

    This is fantastic news. I have been very concerned about the stranglehold of Stonewall UK upon public bodies, especially in light of the advice it provides them, some of which is in direct conflict with the Equality Act. I am hopeful that the new organisation offering training and advice in respect of LGB and T practutioners is able to acknowledge the obvious conflicts of rights and support SWE to successfully navigate them.

  3. frasierfanclub1 September 14, 2022 at 8:38 am #

    This new organisation is in the words of ALDI ‘like the brand, only cheaper’.

    “Our spaces are for all self-identifying lesbian, gay, bi, queer or questioning women, trans women, non-binary people wishing to access a women-centred space, and for those whose gender identity includes woman some or all of the time.”

    SWE has not acknowledged that Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals have been historically oppressed and vilified on the basis of being attracted to the same sex. By getting into bed with this organisation SWE has effectively stated that it believes that Gender Identity Theory trumps biological reality.

    Given that the young people referred for the Tavistock are over represented as compared to the general population as being same sex attracted, on the autistic spectrum, having a history of childhood abuse and trauma, Looked After Children, experiencing eating disorders, surely we as practitioners need training and guidance which supports us to exercise professional curiosity and critical thought .

  4. EK September 14, 2022 at 5:42 pm #

    Absolutely – this is to distance from controversy without courting the real question: how far will social work adopt positions that overlook lesbian, gay and bi rights, trampling over women in the process…? It’s about time trans identifying children had social workers who asked them to slow down with decision making and who looked deeper than gender. One of the many reasons I left the profession this week.

  5. Julie. Mooney September 14, 2022 at 9:07 pm #

    “Self identified lesbians ” …. says it all. Another organisation that is selling lesbians out to gender ideology. Social worker England…. do some research lesbians are same sex attracted not same gender.

    • Alice September 16, 2022 at 1:44 pm #

      That statement could get you sanctioned by SWE and put your employment in jeopardy. Questioning self identification is hate speech apparently. I know this because our Diversity Champion said so.

  6. Alan Henness September 15, 2022 at 11:32 am #

    frasierfanclub1 is correct. The Stonewall brand has become toxic and is being dropped by responsible organisations across the country. This comes after what employment and discrimination Barrister Akua Reindorf said in her report for the University of Essex and in particular Recommendation 18, inter alia:

    “If the University considers it appropriate to continue its relationship with Stonewall, it should devise a strategy for countering the drawbacks and potential illegalities described above.”

    However, swapping one ideological lobby group for another will not in itself resolve the issues: SWE must ensure that if they think they need external advice on equality law, they should take independent advice on how to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and in particular their Public Sector Equality Duty.

    I am far from convinced they will receive impartial and accurate advice from the LGBT Foundation.

  7. Alan Henness September 15, 2022 at 12:53 pm #

    It’s odd that SWE would want to be associated with an organisation that believes that the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the statutory body charged with upholding the Equality Act – is ‘not fit for purpose’, standing shoulder to shoulder with Stonewall and encouraging others to join them in calling on the UN to review the EHRC’s ‘A’ status as a National Human Rights Institution. :

    LGBT Foundation – Add your name: the EHRC is not fit for purpose

    Does the LGBT Foundation sound like an organisation that can be trusted to offer sound and legal equality training?

  8. Tony September 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm #

    I am a gay man. My desires are centered towards other gay men. My friend is a lesbian. Her desires are centered towards lesbian women. No one has ever suggested that I should have any degree of intimacy with women or heterosexual men. My friend on the other hand has been accused of transphobia for saying she could not be intimate with a man. By a heterosexual man. If SWE cannot create a culture that protects female social workers from being defined by identities they do not themselves choose than it has no business pontificating about diversity and inclusion.

    • Alan Henness September 16, 2022 at 7:44 pm #

      Yes, Tony, it’s odd that it seems to be mainly women – and especially lesbians – who have to take the brunt of this…

      One issue seems to be the conflation and confusion (accidental or otherwise) of the terms Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). They are not synonyms. I suggest the following definitions:

      Equality is about ensuring every individual has equal opportunity, recognising that historically certain groups of people with characteristics such as race, disability, sex and sexual orientation have experienced discrimination. Equality protects individuals, or groups of individuals, from being unlawfully treated less favourably because of their Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

      Diversity is about recognising difference. It’s acknowledging the benefit of having a range of perspectives in an organisation’s operations and decision-making and taking steps to aid that diversity.

      Inclusion is valuing people’s differences and is used to enable everyone to thrive in that organisation. An inclusive organisation is one in which everyone feels that they belong without having to conform, that their contribution matters and they are able to perform to their full potential, no matter their characteristics, background, identity or circumstances.

      Equality comes with legal obligations – particularly for a public authority with a Public Sector Equality Duty. SWE ignore that at their peril, particularly if they focus on diversity and inclusion whilst ignoring equality. Employment tribunals await.

      • Andy September 20, 2022 at 11:54 pm #

        I must agree with Alan Henness and Tony that it is mainly women who seem to be bearing the brunt of this issue. Men appear to be almost totally unaffected and unchallenged in any direct or measurable way by it. This is of particular significance for the social work profession whose membership (children and families) is, according to the latest government statistics, 87% female.

    • Panda September 17, 2022 at 8:03 am #

      There we have it. Not that SWE is listening.

  9. Mazza September 16, 2022 at 4:44 pm #

    Thank goodness. Although not convinced LGBT is much better.

  10. Mez September 16, 2022 at 5:01 pm #

    Excellent news. Unfortunately Stonewall is currently nothing more than an ideological pressure group whose which conflicts with current legislation and policy and does not align with the professional social work value base. They have no business “advising” any public body, or other organisation for that matter, and I am delighted that SWE has taken the very sensible decision.

  11. Maggie Mellon September 17, 2022 at 9:26 am #

    EBSWA @ebswa is an alliance of social work practitioners and academics calling for evidence based practice. We have written to SWE and to CAFCASS calling on them to listen to concerns and to show the evidence they rely on for their adoption of gender identity instead of sex. BASW has been similarly captured without any open process. SWE are defending their decision to sanction Rachel’s Meade an experienced respected social worker for sharing posts explaining WPUK and Transgender Trend and other critical material. Professional values and ethics are disregarded and safeguarding children and vulnerable adults has been thrown out of the window. Ideology trumping evidence.

  12. Yoda September 17, 2022 at 10:08 am #

    I’m not convinced SWE is at all interested in inclusion, diversity or difference.

  13. Daisy September 20, 2022 at 9:07 am #

    EBSWA is not an alliance of social workers looking at evidence bases. It is a group which undermines trans rights. Their Piaget obsession damages children rather than protect them.

    • Alan Henness September 21, 2022 at 11:48 am #

      Daisy said:

      It is a group which undermines trans rights.

      What rights are they undermining and how?

    • Frasierfanclub1 September 22, 2022 at 1:28 am #

      Which trans rights do you believe are being undermined?

      And what do you mean when you refer to ‘trans’? In old money trans was short for a transsexuals, usually a homosexual male who has ondergone years of therapy before embarking upon surgery. These days the trans umbrella includes transsexuals, but also transvestites, cross dressers, gender fluid, non binary, which used to be androgynous, gender non conforming individuals, and also pretty much anybody who identifies as trans.

      The Equality Act covers 9 protected characteristics, which include eligible and philosophical belief, sexual orientation, sex, and also gender reassignment. Gender identity and gender expression are NOT protected characteristics.

      There is a very obvious conflict between the wishes of trans people to be affirmed as the opposite sex, and the rights of those wishing to retain single sex spaces, services, sports, scholarships, awards etc, also for lesbians and gay men who have a same sex attraction, not a same gender attraction.

      Some groups of women because of their religious beliefs cannot be alone in a space with a person of the opposite sex.

      There are also safeguarding issues, which as social workers we should be alert to, especially those of us who have a good understanding of child development.

      We should be questioning why there has been such a marked increase in referrals to the Tavistock, why so many girls, why so many who experience same sex attraction, why so many on the autistic spectrum. It is our duty to ask these questions, to seek out research, to demonstrate evidence based practice. Which is what the EBSWA is promoting.

      Trans people should enjoy the same rights to safety, employment, housing etc as every other citizen. However there need to be many more conversations about how to balance the rights of everyone.

      • Daisy September 22, 2022 at 4:08 pm #

        I think the answers are within the comments you make colleagues. The Tavistock has been a problemmatic institution long before they discovered their version of trans affirmation. Some of you might even remember their Satanic Child Abuse narrative that damaged so many children and caring parents. They really aren’t a yardstick for child protection. Old money beliefs had a certain way of characterising people of colour as well as the men in frocks hoo ha though didn’t it? But I presume in the pick and choose of the argument you shy away from referring to black people as the N word and brown people by the P word because old money did? What “risks” do trans persons pose to children? What evidence have you that if they do, they are disproportionately risky? Have a debate about single spaces if you wish but do tell why every trans person will use that space to pose a threat to women and children every single time. I have yet to hear of one scholarship denied someone in the UK because it was given to a trans person. You may wish to misrepresent trans individuals as men in dresses but you’ll find you might even fall out with JK Rowling on that point. Man God religions are not a reason to discriminate. Religious belief doesn’t supercede human rights. If it did we would be stoning and torturing the very lesbians and gay men that you want to protect. And people like me. This is why we do not have blasphemy laws in the UK. Rights are conferred by law but also through social consensus. There is no law on the statute that protects single parents from moral policing. Much as the theocratically obsessed might wish it was otherwise, it has no traction because our social censensus validates diverse parenting. The right to live your life in the best way you can within the attributes that make you happy are not just legal rights. As for “balancing” rights I hope Mithran you can indulge me in a personal narrative. My grandparents and parents were born in what was Rhodesia. Ian Smith had a particular delight in telling the world how rights of “non-whites” had to be balanced with those of “white Rhodesians” to avoid chaos, communism and atheism. Scales are always in the eye of the beholder aren’t they and often tipped in favour of the powerful or the majority. If it reassures than regard trans women as men with penises in ridiculous frocks. But is that who I really am? Am I really oppressing my male partner by being me? Is his rights trampled on, is his sister and mother in danger when we sit down to eat dinner together? Do I pose a risk to nieces and nephews when I use the same toilet as them? You can imagine a predatory me or the conscientious, caring professional social worker me. That choice really does make a difference. Those are the rights I wish I didn’t have to think about every single day Alan.

        • Frasierfanclub1 September 23, 2022 at 8:55 am #

          I have many beautiful men in my life; my sons, brother, father, nephews and good friends. I could not imagine a single one of them harming a woman or a child. However, they belong to a sex class which is responsible for over 95 % of rapes and sexual assaults. And I belong to the sex class which makes up 88% of the victims. This is why there are single sex provisions. The men in my life are sensitive to the need to behave appropriately, to respect space especially. They understand that to a stranger, they can be judged as a risk, as do most decent men. They understand that it is nigh on impossible to distinguish a goody from a baddy just by looking at them. Why can’t you seem to understand that?

          • Daisy September 23, 2022 at 9:50 am #

            I understand better than you think. For consistency though you should start really thinking about excluding all men from public spaces given you can never tell. That doesn’t seem to be said though in the scaremongering “risk assessment”. Lets have women and children only buses, restaurants, trains, classrooms, work spaces and the rest just incase one of the beautiful men aren’t. Propose that segregation and you have my support. And if you can’t just think your way through why you think exclusion on the premise of “might” only applies to persons you choose to exclude. Why can’t you understand that?

          • Adrian September 23, 2022 at 9:58 am #

            Have you really just said that a trans person is a “baddy” because you can’t tell “just by looking at them”? On a social work forum?

      • Mel September 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm #

        No and no again. Non-binary individuals do not claim to be trans. We are not transitioning into who we want to be, we already are who we want to be. Do not misrepresent me or my trans friends. The conundrum is not lurking under the imaginary magical giant umbrella but in the not acknowledging of our diversity.

        • Frasierfanclub1 September 23, 2022 at 8:48 am #

          Perhaps you need to inform LGBT Foundation of this, because as far as they are concerned that’s the umbrella you sit under.

          • Mel September 23, 2022 at 9:40 am #

            Which ever umbrella you would like us to sit under is for your insecurities only. No foundation or group or expert or onlooker gets to vote who I am and where I belong. Simple really.

  14. Mithran Samuel September 21, 2022 at 8:47 pm #

    Hi All,
    Thanks for your comments on this piece. We are keen to promote as much discussion as possible but we don’t believe this is a useful forum for getting into individual cases, particularly ones that are ongoing. I hope that sounds ok, Mithran

  15. Terri September 22, 2022 at 11:22 pm #

    Curious entity this “evidence” thing. Every inquiry into child deaths I have read reported by CC identifies the killers as either heterosexual men, heterosexual women or female couples. It cannot just be my selective memory which doesn’t recall a child being killed by a trans person. Those social workers who claim experience in protecting children please explain why your expertise compels you to pontificate about risks posed by trans persons to children irrespective of this anyway. Might it be that actually “evidence” isn’t your starting point? Might it be that you make a ‘moral’ point? There is a serious debate to be had about medical interventions to affirm trans identity for children but that’s not what’s happening here. Ask yourselves why you are so affirming of increases in diagnoses of autism, ADHD, dyslexia and the ever expanding Neurodivergent categories but find the rise in trans identifying so troubling. Pay your money choose your evidence isn’t actually evidence is it?

  16. Tanya September 23, 2022 at 11:36 am #

    It’s astonishingly bad manners, at the very least, to suggest that someone doesn’t “seem” to understand how others can’t tell a “baddy” just from “looking at them”. Equally, dismissing a person’s own description of themselves for not fitting in with an “umbrella” supposedly chosen for them by an organisation is at the very least rude. As if neither have their own agency and need others to define who they are. If we are to have a proper debate rather than accusations and frankly prejudice peddled as legitimate opinion, let’s at least begin by letting people be who they say they are. I by no means have a nuanced understanding of trans lives but I find the portrail of trans people as potential predators constantly plotting to invade “single sex spaces” utterly baffling. As a 47 year old woman who is in and out of toilets and changing rooms I was never harassed or made fearful by the one and only trans person using the same space as me. Call me lucky, call me naive if your experience is different, but tell me the actuality not the imagined scenario. What I do know is that every pub, every restruant, every high street, every public transport, every football ground, every environment that I have shared with heterosexual men has caused me to be wary and at times fearful. I do not know any trans person in my private circle so can’t say that I am a particularly good ally but I do not experience trans people “invading” women’s spaces when I am going about my life. That’s not my reality and it’s not my daughters reality either. I was asked once if I would be comfortable with my daughter playing tennis given the “numbers” of lesbian professionals. Just yesterday I heard 5 men talking about if there were “any” straight women footballers. Those are the attitudes I want to be protected from not some imagined threat while I am buying a bra. It used to be said, by social workers also, that gay men wanting to adopt or foster were peadeophiles pretending to be caring adults. The “concerns” for women’s safety over trans persons has a similar whiff for me. I noticed the question about how many children were killed or harmed by trans persons was ignored. So yes, it seems “evidence” is a curious entity when it’s a tad inconvenient.

  17. frasierfanclub1 September 25, 2022 at 11:17 am #

    Adrian–I have not referred to trans people as ‘baddies’. I have clearly stated that if is impossible to distinguish between which men are goodies and which are baddies. This does not change just because some are describing themselves as women and dressing in women’s clothes.

    Mel- It is not me who has placed people who descibe themseves as non-binary under the trans umbrella, that is down to the charities which promote that particular ideology.

    Daisy–I think you know as well as anybody else that sinle sex provision does not extend to public transport, workplaces and leisure activities. However they are deemed necessary where the safety, dignity and privacy for females is needed, where females are likely to be in a state of undress, or otherwise vulnerable, such as on a hopsital ward, rape couselling services, changing rooms, domestic abuse refuges, prisons.

    Tanya–Nobody is suggesting that anybody should not be who they say they are. However nobody is required to share that belief and more than anybody has to share a religious belief. I was an out lesbian when the ‘moral panic’ about gays was in full throttle. This is not the same. Lesbians and gays have been historically villified for having a same sex attraction. We are now being told by organisations such as Stonewall UK and LGBT Foundation et al that our same sex attraction is wrong, that the opposite sex should be included in our dating pools becaue they are the same gender, whatever that means, that we are akin to Nazis.

    Terri- the majority of males now identifying as women are heterosexual. The issue for children is not the risk posed by a trans person, but that they are being persuaded that if their personality, interests, dress sense does not conform to regressive gender stereotypes then perhaps they are the opposite sex, the growing numbers of detransitioners appear to have the same complaints, namely that there was not enough exploration of underlying issues before their self diagnosis was affirmed by professionals.

  18. Caitlyn September 25, 2022 at 1:29 pm #

    I admire the calm way Daisy has engaged with the debate here. It seems nothing will convince some that people can get on with their lives without the slightest bit of imposition on others. Social workers being comfortable labelling trans people as dangerous, confused, damaged, sinister is truly chilling. Diversity and equality within prescribed boxes and only for some is not really any of that actually. If you think too many children are being sent for life changing procedures confront that without denigrating them at the same time. If we are uninformed of how woman is being erased by trans affirmation do so by professional engagement not with tabloid grooming danger rhetoric. Nobody is taking your rights away when asking you to treat them with respect and understanding.

  19. Marriane September 26, 2022 at 11:02 am #

    The trouble with some debates is that they can quickly become monologues but I think we need to own what we say rather than obfuscate so here’s my hopefully dispassionate contribution. What is said can’t be unsaid so it was said that one can’t tell the baddies from just looking at them and not just about the non-beautiful men. The meaning is in the context so it was including trans persons. Wilfully ignoring someone saying that they don’t recognise umbrellas should be enough rather than dismissing their identity by insisting they comply with what a charity chooses on their behalf. A person is a living complex being with attributes and faults too not an ideology. The Holocaust is a particularly specific atrocity perpetuated on a meticulously organised scale with an openly declared aim. If you start defences or explanations with reference to Nazis I for one am not prepared to allow that to pass. Same sex attraction or dismissed as same gender attraction are arguments. With merit or otherwise depending on personal belief. No organisation is advocating that lesbians and gays be transported into camps with a view to exterminating them. Not Stonewall of which I am not a fan. No organisation, has actually said thst same sex attraction is wrong and oppressive of others so should be suppressed by law. Twitter spats are not the real world and individuals, however odious, are not organisations. Safety and dignity isn’t just confined to changing rooms and women don’t just need protecting from harm only when they are in an state of undress. Saying that is akin to blaming violence against women and girls on how they dress in public. Women and girls are more vulnerable to violence and abuse in public spaces than from the imagined predatory man in a dress who places himself in a changing room, toilet, refuge, rape counselling service, hospital ward or prison to prey on them. The mathematics of the equation are such that there are allways more predators set on harm in public spaces. That professionals, including the sainted social workers, may be misguidedly attempting to persuade unhappy, traumatised, confused children into an identity they may not understand or actually want is the fight to be had. Not obsessing about adults who identify as trans. Ask yourself why, with all the prejudice, violence, disrespect, poorer pay blighting women’s lives a heterosexual man, with all of the privileges conferred on him, chooses to give it up to identify as a woman. Why not keep the privileges and prey on women as a man? For what it’s worth I work as an AMHP in a hospital. The staff showers and toilets are “non gendered”. They weren’t when I started 14 years ago. Perhaps we are just an exceptionally courteous bunch, though not borne out over the washing up bickering, but we seems to use both without compromising our dignity and privacy. If the store you are using feels unsafe deal with the store.

  20. Alia September 26, 2022 at 11:34 am #

    At a time when women and girls are being murdered and brutalised for transgressing dress codes and “homosexuals” for being “immoral”, the only voice is outrage against the supposed erosion of UK women’s rights by men “describing themselves as women dressing in women’s clothes”. I have family in Iran and amongst the 50 or so people, mainly women, who have been murdered on the streets or custody in the past week two of them were social workers. Not a peep from BASW or SWE or SWAN. As she said “we don’t have blue eyes, we don’t have white skin, our government is killing us, we deserve to be heard, please speak for us”. But not today it seems.

  21. Hatice September 26, 2022 at 3:28 pm #

    Whatever I say to you Alia is feeble and inadequate compared to the bravery of Iranian women in standing up to the warped viciousness and hatred unleashed to devastate them. Evident truth is that some women here would rather rail against trans persons than allow themselves a bit of discomfort while sipping their chai lattes to show solidarity with Iranian women. When I tried to speak about what’s happening in Iran I was accused of Islamaphobia and disrespecting religious customs. Not that it matters but I am a Muslim though apparently not a proper enough one for the white arbiters. I know how insufficient my solidarity is coming from the comfort and safety not afforded Iranian women. I hope your family is safe Alia.

    • Andy September 26, 2022 at 8:45 pm #

      Oh dear, I think your comment reflects some of the new eggshells laid in our paths by the unforeseen complexities of intersectionalism.

      • Cynthia September 27, 2022 at 10:25 am #

        White non-Muslims telling a Muslim they are insufficiently Muslim is not treading on intersectionality egg shells. It’s the arrogance that comes from having a hierarchy of who gets to speak and define. It used to be the preserve of grey men waving appendages about to prove their ‘authority’. Now it’s the preserve of people who can hum a Bob Marley song so they are experts in Caribbean culture, expert on the Middle East because they’ve been on holiday in Morocco, experts on Islam because they can say Eid Mubarak, who hate the Tories while secretly pleased with their tax breaks, who have been planning their two weeks in India to really soak up the vibrant culture long before they had the children you know, think they understand Judaism because they once ate a latke from a stall and it was so “evocative”. You know the trope so you can add to the list. The colonial mind isn’t just the preserve of Oxbridge colleges and Empire nostalgics. The unsaid is always class privilege and the supposed nuances of intersectionality is the maze that meanders us away from acknowledging it. Speak your mind but take the ear plugs out first. It’s good to listen however uncomfortable it is to be confronted by your ignorance. Social work these days is one long Abigail’s Party. Without the insight.

  22. Mandy September 26, 2022 at 7:18 pm #

    Saying it’s impossible to distinguish who the baddies are by looking at them is akin to saying it’s impossible to say whether a Muslim is a terrorist simply by looking at them because some have been. Frankly the line between prejudice and racism seems to get narrower in social work.

  23. Tahin September 27, 2022 at 9:56 pm #

    Alia and Hatice eloquently and heartbreakingly lead us to see the withered thing that social work now is. Hollow gestures of Ubuntu and taking the knee, since long forgotten, replaced with who knows what tokenism next. Women and girls standing defiantly in the faces of men in uniform with guns and batons, climbing phone boxes to cut off their hair while being shot at, beaten, sexually assaulted. And here, what?Silence from the anti-racists at BASW, irrelevant innanities from SWE on registration and practice educators, tumbleweed hollowness from the “social work is a justice and rights based profession” obsessives, “there’s a man in a dress over there pass the smelling salts and lock up your daughters” anxiety addicts apparently ‘protecting’ women’s rights by denying the reality of other lives. It’s utterly trite to say this with what Alia and family are going through but I know who I rather have as a colleague.

  24. Beth September 28, 2022 at 5:26 pm #

    What is happening in Iran is a tragedy but this debate is about womens rights in our country. The institutions that are meant to safeguard women have been captured by a lobby to our detriment. That’s what we need to resist.

    • Suzanna September 28, 2022 at 9:34 pm #

      I find this response so dispiriting. Us women face the same prejudice and oppression whichever country we live and work in. The degree of state violence depends on luck but luck has a nasty underbelly and a potential to run out. Without solidarity and empathy our personal freedoms are what exactly? “First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me”.

  25. Anon October 4, 2022 at 8:39 am #

    Woman, Life, Freedom.