A charity set up to do good works increasingly seems rotten at its core
All over the land, the children are making or buying cards for Mothering Sunday – an important day for very many years. Even now Oxfam shops are touting a nice promotion – a ‘Mother’s Day Gift Guide’. One special offer is a free Mother’s Day card when you buy a Fairtrade chocolate heart. Hooray for chocolateloving mothers everywhere.
But wait... by implication, according to a new document produced by this same Oxfam, there’s an issue here.
‘Mother’ you see, is problematic. In the latest manifestation of the outrageous lunacy that’s taken over all our institutions, the charity founded in 1942 to combat hunger and poverty around the world suggests that the word ‘parent’ is preferable to ‘mother’.
Its new policy document states: ‘We avoid “mother”; or “father”,’ adding that it is best to ‘ avoid assuming the adoption of gendered roles by transgender parents’.
The charity has hit back at widespread criticism by stating that this decree deals specifically with transgender parents, and that it wishes to respect the right of transgender people ‘to use other names to designate parenthood’. This means, for example, that if a person born female who now identifies as male wishes to use the pronouns he/him but also gets pregnant, that ‘male’ can choose to be called a mother.
Confusing? The new Oxfam ‘Inclusive language Guide’ takes us into an Alice in Wonderland world of alphabetic confusion and ‘woke’ prescription.
According to Oxfam the word ‘mother’ is ‘not inclusive’ enough. Of course it isn’t – because it refers to something very specific experienced by the biologically female of the species. But in the pursuit of a fantasy of inclusivity, and to pander to a small minority of people who dislike the sex that is on their birth certificates, Oxfam is also advocating phrases like ‘people who menstruate’ and ‘pregnant people’.
It advises its workers that ‘if you are writing about women and girls specifically, you could write “women including trans women”.’
No! Trans women are not women – and not all the hysterical parroting of that meaningless phrase all over the woke western world can make it true. Trans women are trans women – while women are (wait for the shock) women.
I have no doubt that people suffering from genuine gender dysphoria should be allowed to live their lives as they wish, as long as that doesn’t harm anybody else.
But all-powerful transgender lobbying turns a very serious issue – the mental and physical health of a minority with genuine needs and rights, who believe they have been born into the wrong body – into an exercise in coercion.
For the rest of society to be forced to change the language we have spoken since birth – with multiple layers of meaning understood in every word – is entirely unacceptable.
listen, Oxfam bureaucrats! It is those of us born female who menstruate, get pregnant, become mothers – and ( let me add with sadness) experience abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, ovarian cancer, hysterectomy.
Womanhood is special and nobody can take it from us. Precious and conveying generations of ‘lived experience’, it also forms a significant link to other women around the world. I think of this as ‘sisterhood’.
Travel through Rajasthan – and who are those people you see carrying water, leading children and working in the fields, saris fluttering like so many gorgeous butterflies? They are women.
Visit Botswana – and ask who washed the neat school uniforms worn by crocodiles of school children. Women. Who did I laugh with in a village in Uganda, all of us mocking the men who do nothing but talk – and (cue knowing giggles) ‘make the babies’. It was a group of sparky women.
Who was the hard-working individual I met on a trip to Kenya and took shopping for supplies for the children? She was a mother. Who was the extraordinary, stalwart black person I chatted to in Clarksdale, Mississippi– bringing up a girl of 16 and her baby in a rough shack? She was an heroic grandmother.
What would all those women think of Oxfam’s denial of motherhood? How would its internal advice play out in areas where people know quite well what ‘mother’ and ‘father’ mean?
What’s truly shocking is that Oxfam’s recent past shows it failed to disclose abuse of vulnerable women and girls by its own aid workers. A year after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the charity investigated reports that Oxfam-employed workers in Haiti were sexually abusing local women. Seven members of the Oxfam team in Haiti, including the head of the operation, Roland van Hauwermeiren, resigned or were sacked for sexual misconduct in 2011.
Oxfam carried out an investigation into the allegations but faced claims of a cover up. Disgracefully, it concluded that the behaviour was not a case of exchanging ‘sex for aid’ and did not make the report public at the time because the prostitutes involved were not beneficiaries of aid.
This charity, set up with a noble aim and once supported financially by millions (including me) has become a disgrace. Closing down offices all over the world because of a funding crisis (after the Haiti outrage and then the pandemic) it nevertheless finds resources to produce policy documents which test credulity.
For example, even as the Charity Commission imposed a 19-month statutory supervision on Oxfam because of its failings in safeguarding, the charity’s lGBT+ network was producing a training manual called ‘learning about trans rights and inclusion’. It makes for shocking reading. Because instead of judging sexual violence to be a problem that Oxfam ought to combat, their document says: ‘Mainstream feminism centres on privileged white women and demands that “bad men” be fired or imprisoned.’
The document advises staff to read a controversial book by Alison Phipps, a professor of gender studies at the University of Sussex. Summarising the book’s central premise, the Oxfam document says white feminists should ask themselves whether they are causing harm when they fight sexual violence.
Oxfam said the training was voluntary and the views are not presented as its own but designed to help staff understand the issues.
But what on earth is it doing directing its employees to such views in the first place? Views that clearly suggest ‘white feminists’ who report rape and regard criminal punishment as a legitimate consequence for those who perpetrate physical and sexual violence against women are at fault? According to this warped thinking we women (rather than the ‘bad men’) are the problem rather than the solution.
Now, this latest policy document is an assault on the concept of womanhood. It is misogyny masquerading as ‘inclusion’. It turns truth on its head and peddles deranged lies. The charity set up to do good works increasingly seems rotten at its core. To distract attention from its manifest failings it has sold its soul to a ‘woke’ agenda of identity politics – and many of us are asking why it deserves any more support.
‘It failed to disclose abuse of vulnerable women’