The Trouble With Woman



Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, who has co-sponsored recent bills on reproductive leave and period products which omit the words ‘woman’ and ‘mother’

This morning/afternoon.

Further to removal of the word “mother” from seven Acts of Irish legislation and the omission of the words “women” and “mother” from proposed pieces of legislation affecting women: the Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) and the Free Provision of Period Products Bills….

Via Irish Times Letters:

Euphemisms for menstruation were common when women’s reproductive business was considered unmentionable and slightly shameful. It’s good that we’ve matured to the point of recognising the significance and importance of openly and correctly naming things for what they are.

However, something else is happening which is quite sinister. The euphemisms have moved from the word “period” to the word “woman”.

The word “woman” does not appear once in either of the Bills. It is replaced by “anyone”, “everyone” and “people”. None of the female Fianna Fáil or Labour Senators contacted seem to know why or where the word went, although it must have been deliberately excluded.

Labour’s Ivana Bacik had no difficulty referring to women and girls in 2019 when she raised the issue of period poverty in the Seanad as she used both throughout her speech.

When contacted, neither she nor any of her female Seanad colleagues answered my question – why are you deliberately excluding the word “woman”?

Women need the word women. We are a distinct biological and political class who are oppressed on the basis of our sex. Language matters. Labour and Fianna Fáil must do better.


Irish Times Letters


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75 thoughts on “The Trouble With Woman

    1. U N M U T U A L


      We might be missing a trick here.

      Let me see if I can get this straight…
      Man identifies as woman coupled with a case of couvade syndrome…
      Bam! Maternity leave paydirt…
      Might be onto a winner here…

    1. Andrew

      You mean erasing of women and rights hard fought for Daisy?

      But yeah, you go ahead and continue with your betrayal, as long as you feel good about it ,that’s the main thing. Until you change your mind of course.

      1. ian-oG

        Can you spell H Y P E R B O L L I X Andrew?


        ”Betrayal” is it? Go on so, regale us with your clearly in depth knowledge of this matter. You can use small words with few syllables.

  1. newjustin

    This is a multifaceted thing. For one, divorcing womanhood from motherhood has long been an ambition for some.

  2. Janet, chatty mammy

    yet I can’t register my child until I prove that I have been divorced longer than ten months….. because naturally my x would HAVE to be the father, crock of poo, what does my marriage status have to do with her rights to a PPS no for a start never mind birth certificate, passport etc, and they better not start with the foreign divorce not recognized crap, it’s bad enough I have to fork out for an official translation

    1. Rob_G

      I imagine that this in place in order to ensure that separated fathers aren’t prevented from seeing their kids.

        1. Rob_G

          I presume they do it for the same reason that they stop and question a mother or father travelling through an airport with kids but without the other parent: unfortunately, sometimes someone will try to kidnap their children to prevent the other parent from seeing them, so they have to have these checks in place.

          1. Janet, chatty mammy

            I just hope I can find the fecking papers, moved house about five times since

  3. Tarfton Clax

    It could be argued that leaving the word woman completely out of this is like refusing to use the “Black Lives matter” slogan because some members of the black community are albino. It may be seen as erasing the lived experience many of those most affected by the issues and has an unfortunate resemblance to the “All lives matter” slogan which is of course a deliberate snub to people of colour.

    1. george

      That couldn’t be argued in the context of legislation because that would make no sense.

      The wording of legislation should deal with the issue at hand as directly as possible and should always avoid reference to a specific gender or ethnicity unless totally necessary. The reason for this is to reduces the possibility for legal challenges, ambiguity, or unintended consequences for legislation in the future.

      A good example is the wording of the legislation on same sex marriage. It doesn’t refer to men and women or members of the same sex because it doesn’t need to. It uses the language “without distinction as to their sex” which doesn’t leave room for any legal doubt and .doesn’t create unintended obstacles to any future legislation on any potential future legislation on gender.

      The wording of legislation is not sloganeering. The issue is the potential legal implications.

      1. Jimmy the mink

        But legislation can refer to sex, which is a biological, ie scientific, certainty. Even those that are intersex.

        Gender has become far too ambiguous to have any place in legislation apart from freedoms and protections of expression based laws.

  4. Junkface

    I’m afraid this is delusional woke ideology at work. They are sneaking it into laws now, everybody was warned a few years ago about what was happening in college culture abroad in the USA, but now its here in Ireland. Again, these ideas are based on unfounded, research free papers and books, which were never peer reviewed. They don’t know the effects of what they are doing on the systems we all live under. Not surprised to see someone like Ivana pushing this through without being willing to debate the logic behind it, because there is no objective logic there. Women’s empathy is being weaponized by this ideology against them, pretty soon most spaces for women exclusively, will be full of transwomen (former men). Feminism is supposed to fight for womens space, womens sport, and womens rights, it has been hijacked.

    Here is a good discussion that covers some of the ideology by two UK feminists who oppose it.

    1. Nigel

      ‘pretty soon most spaces for women exclusively, will be full of transwomen’

      You’re expecting quite the population explosion of trans women there Junkface. Trans women have aways been welcomed in those spaces, and feminism never used to be about attacking trans women. This is all quite new, and it’s not the ‘woke’ that are responsible.

      Plus, you don’t actually know who was responsible for the language, let alone why. The fact of the matter is, IF it’s trans-related it’s probably not about trans women, it’s about trans men. But you managed to use it to attack trans women anyway. And I repeat, it’s a big IF. You just don’t know.

      Just saw Daisy’s comment below – this has kicked off because of a lie, no less. It’s far more likely to be standard practice to use gender neutral language when drafting bills, because of course you would. Offended over nothing. Congrats! You’ve all become what you claim to oppose!

    1. Junkface

      I scan read through the document and women or woman or female or girl is not mentioned once. Why would you not include any of these words in what is clearly a womens/ girls health issue? Because that is blasphemy under woke ideology and would be followed by a social media flogging for Ivana and any other women involved in pushing though this bill.

      Here is a question. Do transwomen menstruate or have wombs? No they don’t. So why worry about them when writing this bill?

      Here’s another question that never gets answered. Where is the logic in letting the feelings of 0.1% of the population dictate what 50% of the population do? There is no logic. Zero. More proof that this is a delusional ideology that has no place in any legal system. Its irresponsible to women and girls from all backgrounds.

      1. Nigel


          1. Nigel

            And do you have an issue with the writing of legislation, here or in the UK, in gender neutral language, given that 2007 is a long way from the 18th century and so a bit flipping overdue?

          2. Junkface

            This is a cultural issue too Nigel. Clearly it has no real borders. The same thing is happening all across the western world.

          3. Nigel

            More and more countries using gender neutral language, if they weren’t already, when drafting legislation is actually a good thing.

          4. Jimmy the mink

            Have at gender neutral all day long a the bills based on science and biology should refer to sex where necessary.

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        Transmen menstruate and have wombs, as do some non binary people.

        Where exactly would you include “woman or female or girl” in the period products bill?

          1. george

            References to “female sex” in this case are unnecessary. The question is how would this improve the law? It wouldn’t..
            There is no legal definition of that term and it would lead to a court case.

        1. Clampers Outside

          I think you are referring to self identifying transmen as opposed to actual transitioners.

          Transmen who actually transition do not menstruate due to testosterone intake.

          Self ID is transgender.

          And +1 Jimmy

          1. Nigel

            Transitioning does not happen overnight, and people who have not yet transitioned are still trans.

  5. Rob_G

    There was some piece on liveline a while ago about a public health leaflet to do with cervical cancer or something, that referred only to ‘persons with wombs’, rather than ‘women’ or ‘females’, or even ‘women, and anyone else who might happen to have a womb’.

    Someone, quite reasonably, pointed out that ‘person with a womb’ might not be very easily understood by a person (with a womb) for whom English wasn’t their first language.

    1. ian-Og

      “There was a piece on Liveline….”

      Sorry Rob, got as far as “Liveline” and stopped.

      I’m sure it was a well researched, thoughtful and erudite discussion nonetheless aha…ahahaha…..ahahahahahahaaaaaa…..ha…

      1. Rob_G

        well, I’m glad that you can see the humour in immigrants not getting the healthcare that they need because of confusing phrasing on public health leaflets, because I’m afraid I am failing to see the funny side, myself.

        1. ian-Og

          You know perfectly well it was Liveline I was laughing at. But I guess you had to say something.

          Pity, I expected better from you Rob.

        2. Rob_G

          You seem to be more interested in making asinine asides than addressing my substantive point: “cervical cancer is something that women should inform themselves about” – I don’t consider this to be hateful rehtoric that should be excluded from a public health pamphlet.

          Do you even know what I’m referring to?

          1. ian-Og

            I’m laughing at the idea of a debate around this issue on Liveline is all. Nuanced, it most certainly would not be.

      1. Rob_G

        That’s interesting – though I wonder if, among any of the 27 women* they asked, English was not their first language. ‘Cervix’ was certainly not among the first terms I learned when learning a foreign language; I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that at least a few of the 1-in-6 people living in Ireland who were born outside the jurisdiction, picked up the leaflet and wondered: “what’s a cervix?”, and then threw the leaflet in the recycling without taking any further, perhaps very necessary, action.

        *their terminology, btw

  6. Andrew

    Transwomen are men. It’s autogynephilia for most of them, and it’s sad to see, mostly women, advocate for this tiny cadre of delusional, entitled men.

      1. Micko

        This would seem to make the most sense Janet.

        And a separate category in competitive sports would also help the issue.

        Everyone would be happy then.

    1. Nigel

      Yes, it is sad to see women advocating for a samll, vulnerable minority. It’s sad that they have to advocate for them in the face of so much irrational hate.

      1. Junkface

        I don’t see any hate in the comments? Transwomen and transmen should be treated the way they wish to be, or addressed. Treat people with dignity.
        Just don’t let it dictate new laws relating to womens health. This topic does not belong in our legal system, or any legal system unless we are specifically writing laws that relate to trans persons issues.

        1. Nigel

          Literally the comment I’m replying to, and if you want to see what sorts of new laws relating to women’s health are being put forward, check out the ones in the US where transphobia is driving them to enact dumb, scary laws to ‘protect’ women. There is nothing about THIS law that is actually objectionable, but it’s weird that you think that laws should not apply to or take account of the existence of trans men and trans women? How does it benefit anyone to leave them in at best legal limbo or at worst at risk of breaking laws just by existing?

          1. Junkface

            No I said laws relating to womens health like period products, which are obviously catered to biological women, as they have wombs, do not need Trans sensitive language. It does not apply to them.

            If there are new issues or health and safety issues that clearly affect the Trans community, then lets talk about those issues openly, without fear of cancel culture or social media pile ons. Then lets write laws that make things clearer for the whole of society. Violence against Trans people is not acceptable, like all human beings.

            A lot of these issues will become very big by the end of the next Olympics, or the one after that. Womens sport could be changed forever. Not mens sports mind you.

          2. Nigel

            But it’s not ‘trans sensitive’ language it’s just gender neutral which I am willing to bet actual money is the house style of legislative drafting. If you can point out anywhere in the bill where the use of gender neutral language is potentially harmful you should go right ahead and do that now, and if, by default, that gender neutral language makes things easier for trans people in various ways, then it seems to me that is a sign of good legislation.

            Yes, I worry that trans people are going to have to put up with a lot, up to and including physical abuse and violence, but also possibly having laws passed against them as in the US, because transphobic culture warriors will be making hay of the issue around the Olympics.

  7. Andrew

    You won’t find the word ‘women’ though Daisy. You will find the word ‘person’ scattered throughout.


    (a) in the case of all public service bodies with which arrangements have been made,
    by persons in its premises who need to use them, and
    (b) in the case of certain public service bodies specified by the regulations, by
    persons generally who are living in the area served by the body concerned.

  8. Daisy Chainsaw

    The IT letter states:

    The word “woman” does not appear once in either of the Bills. It is replaced by “anyone”, “everyone” and “people”.

    I merely pointed out that anyone, everyone and people don’t appear in the text of both bills either. You jumping on other words that may or may not be there is just whataboutery to justify another round of Trans bashing.

    1. george

      You should be listening to lawyers as the wording of legislation is a legal matter and not about the feelings of particular women.

  9. U N M U T U A L

    Considering the year we’ve all just been through…
    Is there anything to be said for,

      1. george

        What has the unnecessary use of the word woman in a piece of legislation got to do with science?

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      The same hate that in the past was aimed at gay men and lesbians, feminists, people of colour etc. But these groups have achieved a lot of the equality and social acceptance they wanted so ultra conservative hate groups need another cause to rally behind.

      The language used against Trans people, particularly bathroom panic, is very similar to that used against gay men and lesbians 30/40 years ago.

      1. lois

        i suggested you look up Autogynephilia and maybe google a few images and then ask yourself would you be happy with yourself and young girls sharing spaces with these fellas..

      2. Clampers Outside

        I’ve seen many of the gay community, including the fou der of Stonewall, say that that comparison is apples and oranges.

  10. lois

    wouldn’t you think Ivana would have more to be doing,like keeping sex offenders in dresses out of Limerick prision.

  11. K. Cavan

    Many Feminists percieve the use of the principle of being Gender Neutral to delete, disregard & exclude the very concept of women from legislation, from consideration, from legal existence, as mysogyny. When rights clash, the rights of half the human race must take precedence over the rights of a tiny minority, that’s before you even consider the fact that this tiny minority are defined by their own, personal convictions that their actual sex is not their “real” sex. Body Dysphoria is a real, delusional mental state, Autogynophilia is a harmless sexual perversion but Womanhood is a biological reality & this should be reflected in how our society deals with all these matters. Rationality must trump ideology, if balance is to be achieved.

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