Academy of Ideas

What is a woman anyway?

January 14, 2019

A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival 2018 in London on Saturday 13 October.

What does it mean to be a woman? For some it’s about motherhood, others femininity, and some reject the whole idea of ‘womanhood’ outright. The Conservative Party’s proposed changes to the law around gender recognition have caused a fair amount of controversy around the question of what gender means and what it takes to be a woman. Is it about experience? Is it simply an identity which can be picked up by anyone? And, beyond the trans debate, is there anything worth defending in the idea of ‘womanhood’? Do women share a collective identity? What is a woman anyway?

SPEAKERS

HEATHER BRUNSKELL-EVANS
academic and writer; co-editor, Transgender Children and Young People

CHRISSIE DAZ
schoolteacher; cabaret performer; writer on transgender and gender variant identity

KATHY GYNGELL
co-editor, The Conservative Woman

JOANNA WILLIAMS
head of education and culture, Policy Exchange; author, Women vs Feminism; associate editor, spiked