All of the UK’s universities are beholden to the UKRI (U.K. Research and Innovation), a ‘non departmental public body’ who control a pot of over £5 billion worth of funding, accounting for the vast majority of research grants in the U.K.
However, to access this pot of billions, ‘gender equality’ rules apply.
UKRI ‘brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.’ This covers all areas of research and innovation, from cutting edge STEM to the arts and humanities. Their reach is comprehensive.
‘It will be mandatory for all applications to UK Research and Innovation GCRF and Newton Fund calls announced and published after the 1st April 2019 to provide a Gender Equality Statement. This statement must outline how applicants have taken meaningful yet proportionate consideration as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities, as required under the International Development (Gender Equality) Act.’
Surely gender in this context refers to biological sex? Of course not.
‘While sex is biologically determined, gender is socially and culturally defined, meaning gender is not necessarily fixed and can change. This can cause differences in understanding and experiences of gender across different countries, cultures and contexts. UN Women defines gender as the ‘social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female’ and the relationships between men, women, girls and boys. Although men and women represent the most common genders, it is becoming increasingly common to think beyond gender binaries.’
Contrary to what you might expect, this policy is not about achieving equality of the sexes. Anyone that wishes to obtain funding will instead be required to capitulate to identity politics under the guise of ‘preventing harm’. They will be required to submit a ‘Gender Equality Statement’ and may be required to make unreasonable adjustments to research methodologies and outcomes to satisfy the demands of gender ideologues. This is a top down imposition of gender ideology, and therefore sexism, under pain of financial hardship.
All of this is painted as an attempt to comply with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act (2014), but as is becoming increasingly clear, where gender until recently unambiguously referred to sex, entire laws and language are now being appropriated, reinterpreted and misused in unintended and potentially harmful ways.
From the outset, research methods, evidence and conclusions might be compromised to satisfy the demands of gender identity politics, and that comes with significant risk to women.
For example, any complaint at the words ‘woman’ or ‘female’ in a research study relating to women’s health might conclude their use is not inclusive ‘beyond gender binaries’. This could lead to the inclusion of trans identified males, on their demand, in studies about female health, and attempts to preserve the integrity of research could be derailed with baseless accusations of transphobia.
Researchers who somehow fail to meet the ever changing demands for ‘inclusion’ could see delays, or even the removal of funding. Harassment is likely, dismissal, more than possible. Research samples might become so skewed, the methodologies used to attain them so corrupted, the language so muddled that at best any findings are rendered meaningless; at worst, ‘disappear’ women from the equation altogether. This intimidation is already under way, as shown in the overwhelming reports submitted by researchers and academics to GC Academia Network, and evidence of the negative impact of gender ideology in medical schools is emerging..
UKRI is yet another example of institutional ideological capture. It is no surprise we see the no-platforming and silencing of feminist academics who dare explore or critique gender identity politics and ideologies. It isn’t just that there’s no funding to give women a voice; there’s billions available to silence them.
Despite the virtuous sheen of the language of equality, the UKRI’s policies are more likely to create harms than prevent them, diminishing appreciation of the ever present relevance of biological sex, which deserves unambiguous, plain English for clarity and accuracy in understanding the human condition.
Moreover, with the exception of gender reassignment, there was no clear indication on the UKRI website that the courtesy of equality statements is afforded to any of the other protected characteristics recognised in the Equality Act 2010.
Prepare to see the wealth of human knowledge reimagined through the lens of Queer Theory, while our connection to our shared humanity will grow ever weaker, our existence reduced to prostrating and public performance.
There’s billions of pounds in identity politics just waiting for the right bidder to buy into it, and it’s already corrupting research in a university near you.