Ms Hewitt's Whitehall Sex Farce

By Walters, Simon | The Mail on Sunday (London, England), December 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

Ms Hewitt's Whitehall Sex Farce


Walters, Simon, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)


Byline: SIMON WALTERS

TRADEand Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt was at the centre of a Whitehall farce last night, accused of an Orwellian attempt to rewrite English to boost women's rights.

She has introduced a multimillion-pound 'gender mainstreaming' plan to combat sex discrimination and redefine the roles of men and women.

The initiative, condemned by the Tories as 'politically correct nonsense', includes a new Whitehall dictionary, which redefines the words 'sex' and 'gender'.

Sex is stripped of all romance and defined in seven stark words as 'the biological differences between men and women'. The term 'gender' must ignore physical differences between males and females. The Government even wants to get rid of the term 'men and women' - regarded as being biased in favour of men. It is to be replaced with 'women and men'.

The move is part of a new drive to ban any policy unless it complies with women's rights. It was pioneered in Brussels with strong backing-from Britain's EU Commissioner Neil Kinnock. Ms Hewitt was a senior aide to Mr Kinnock when he was Labour leader.

Whitehall bureaucrats have been issued with a new 'glossary of commonly used terms' to combat traditional ideas of men's and women's roles including 'gender impact assessments' to test every Government policy for bias towards men.

The controversy comes six weeks after Ms Hewitt, who is also Women's Minister, condemned a car advert featuring a scantily clad model, complaining: 'We all know sex sells but haven't we got past "boys with toys"?' The attack backfired when it was revealed the advert was designed by a woman who claimed it was aimed at women.

A new 'gender mainstreaming glossary' includes no fewer than ten definitions of gender.

A Cabinet Office guide says: 'To deliver public services shaped around the needs of women and men, policy makers need to integrate a gender perspective into their everyday work from the start. …

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