Speak Up For Women is publishing Rachel Stewart’s latest column, as the New Zealand Herald did not publish it. Rachel is an award winning journalist and one of New Zealand’s favourite opinion writers. It seems in today’s anti-women political climate, some feminist opinions are not welcome at the Herald. Please note it was written prior to the news breaking that Massey Uni had cancelled our venue booking.


Rachel’s column:

It seems far-fetched that the mere hiring of a Massey University venue by a feminist organisation could cause so much indignation and rage, but these are not typical times.

A bunch of females getting together within a public space to discuss the issues currently affecting them is far from new, and very far from radical.

Yet, the idea that ‘Feminism 2020’ would dare to congregate at a venue on Massey’s Wellington campus saw a number of students stage a sit-in, which culminated in the handing over of a petition calling on the university to cancel the event.

What is so threatening about women coming together and talking? According to the protestors and petitioners, the organisers of the event – Speak Up for Women – are essentially devil incarnates.

Petition organiser Charlie Myer said the university shouldn’t be “facilitating this kind of discussion”. Feminism 2020 “could have [the event] anywhere” but it wasn’t appropriate for them to hold it at a university, which was supposed to support transgender students.”

Last time I looked universities were required to respect and uphold the quaint, old-fashioned tenet of free speech too. And Massey has, thus far, held out against the pressure of every thrown guilt trip known to mankind. You know, we don’t feel “safe”.

Myer also disputed the group was feminist and simply meeting to discuss women’s issues. “If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism.”

Don’t you just love it when men tell women what feminism actually is? I find it adorable. Like a possum in my pear tree. So endearing.

Another endearing move was to then see the spokesperson for diversity and inclusion accreditation business Rainbow Tick Martin King say that if Massey did not cancel the event it was likely it would trigger a review of its accreditation.

The spectre of losing their Rainbow Tick must be downright scary for them. I mean, since students are now their financial customers, Massey naturally wants to keep the client happy at all costs.

But back to ‘Speak Up For Women’ and their apparently devilish ways. Why do some students so feverishly want them cancelled lest they be “harmed” by their words? Of course, you’d think simply not attending would put paid to that, but I’m being far too logical.

No. These students believe that no one should be allowed to discuss, debate, or hear the reasons why many women are concerned about an amendment (currently on hold) to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Bill that would allow a person to change their legal gender by simply signing a declaration.

The group formed because they were legitimately concerned the amendment would prevent women from excluding men from changing rooms, bathrooms, women’s prisons, women’s shelters and any other women and girls-only space. In a nutshell, they don’t agree that trans women are women just because they say they are.

The group supports the current law, which allows a person to change the sex on their birth certificate if they go through certain steps – specifically applying in writing to the Court and obtaining a medical sign-off from a doctor.

They also make it clear they support the rights of transgender people to live without violence and discrimination.

However they don’t agree that trans women should be allowed to compete against natal females in sport. In their view, it’s not a level playing field.

Now, what’s so heinous about that? Why does holding such views mean they should be de-platformed, cancelled, and marginalised?

Eerily, many of the organisers and some of the speakers are lesbian so why would the ‘L’ part of the LGBTQ be considered such a threat to organisations such as Rainbow Tick? Is the imperative of ‘diversity’ no longer extended to lesbians? Or feminists – regardless of their sexual preferences? Good ol’ intersectionalism strikes again! It’s a conundrum.

And therein lies the problem with intersectionalism. The manic race to win the title of ‘most oppressed and marginalised group’ sets up a spiralling vortex of ever-tightening circles of meaninglessness.

Will there be protests if the event goes ahead? Will the protestors consist mainly of male activists telling those women to shut up? Because that’s the rub for me. Seeing men shouting women down via megaphone, rattling windows, banging doors and generally screaming at them, reminds me why I’m a feminist all over again.

Tactics like these are being employed in Britain and the U.S. and where they go, we tend to go. If similar methods are on show at the ‘Feminism 2020’ event, it’ll be quite the statement.

Ask yourself this.

Why is it that some men are angry, abusive, and disruptive around such incredibly important issues to some women? What’s driving their need to shut women up? Why is free speech good for the gander, but not so welcome from the goose?

When did an open discussion by women about women’s rights become so threatening?

Actually, more to the point, when didn’t it?

  1. Rachel Stewart at her best. Amazing what can be said in 800 words. So proud to be part of this movement. New thinking, new feminism, born of courage in adversity. We are not going to be going away – ever.

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  2. Fabulous article, absolutely spot on – articulating exactly how I think and feel about the issue and could never put so well!

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  3. Did the Herald indicate why they had censored it? It seems mad. New Zealand journalism is in a terrible state.

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    1. Hi John

      They were “scared” of the backlash from trans activists. Plus, you know, dealing with the inevitable (and unjustified) Media Council complaints takes a ton of work. That’s how their extreme prevarication was explained to me.

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  4. Such a vital and important article. I’ll be cancelling my NZ herald subscription and I suggest all other women concerned with these Orwelian times do the same. I also cancelled my green party membership this year.. I am talking more and more about these issues in real life and off the internet.. everyday mainstream people who do not use facebook or twitter regularly are becoming more an more aware of this cultural phenomenon (cancel culture) and those I speak with are genuinely perplexed.

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  5. Yes they went ahead and banned the talk while raving on about the importance of, and their “commitment” to free speech.
    Douglas Murray’s new book, The Madness of Crowd, is a great guide to understanding these crazy times.
    Best of luck to the organisers of the 2020 talk.

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  6. So we’ll written, exposing a worrying new trend. I stand by what Rachel has written and what a shame the NZ Herald didn’t have the intelligence to print it.
    Romi Curl

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    1. another excellent piece by Rachel Stewart. I also stand by what Rachel has written and am furious at the NZ Herald (also known for its pro GE/GMO bias and refusal to print letters to the editor from highly qualified independent scientists with concerns about any outdoor use of GE/GMOs / gene edited organisms) for not printing Rachel’s latest.

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  7. Mary E Davenport October 16, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Great commentary by Rachel. Why on Earth would the Herald not print this.

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  8. Left eating the left.

    Did these same women stand up for freedom of speech with Jordan Peterson and others?

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    1. Who says these women are all left? Women from all sections of the political spectrum are worried about what this is doing to our rights. Re Jordan Peterson, we have enough on our plates fighting for our own rights without taking on men’s battles as well.

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      1. Dividing the battle to protect free speech along gender lines is no different to dividing it along political lines! Free speech is free speech, no matter which point on the political spectrum you sit, nor which of the two genders you are.

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      2. Fighting for free speech and equality is not a man’s battle. It’s one for all of us, Una. And if we really believe in free speech and equality, the gender of the person doesn’t matter.

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        1. Totally agree. Free speech is so important for us all. As always, if you don’t like what someone is saying/advocating, then walk away, don’t attend or change the channel.

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      3. What rights do men have that you don’t?

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        1. Well if Stand Up For Women had been “allowed” to have their seminar and the media weren’t suppressing freedom of information, we might know! Although trans-men playing in women’s sporting competitions is happening and definitely gives them with a significant advantage over women.
          Fighting for Free Speech is an male issue too though. Massey Uni banned the very polite and mild mannered Don Brash from speaking about his career to political studies students for ‘health & safety’ reasons……Very Stalinesque of them!

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      4. Free speech is free speech. Men support Rachael, and support your cause too.

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  9. A great article Rachel. So good to hear someone speaking reasonably in a world which feels increasingly like its made up of, as you put it, “ever tightening circles of meaninglessness”. Some men say they are women and wear stilettos as proof. They use violent abuse of women as a go-to method of attack. This must be clear proof they share the same DNA as their woman beater brothers in sneakers.

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  10. Brilliant article Rachel, pity the Herald lacked the balls to print it. Strange for a bunch of men to lack balls, but there you go.

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  11. As a Canadian and a radical feminist, I marvel at how much ground we’re losing to people who have the audacity to call themselves feminists. It’s quite a remarkable accomplishment. I have a daughter/granddaughter and I’m frankly terrified for their future.

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  12. […] Speak Up for Women has the column by Rachel Stewart the NZ Herald wouldn’t print: […]

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  13. Great article thanks

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  14. To this 70’s feminist, I am appalled by what the many politically sanctioned bullies are getting away with in NZ.
    As for the censoring/supressing NZHerald, they did the same to me over my article “Who’s Protecting the Public Interest (in the NZ coast)? They went back and forth wanting me to change this and that….. I finally gave up and gave it to eLocal – the only open print/electronic media left, it seems.

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    1. Fiona when was it published in the eLocal? I would love to read your article. This is another incredibly important issue for ALL New Zealanders. We live in scary times!

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  15. BRAVO for your stance Rachel and bravo SUFW for publishing this. We have all stepped through the Looking Glass… Hasn’t Massey just abused it’s statutory obligation to be ‘critic and conscience of society’ without which they are not entitled to be a University?

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  16. In essence, this is NO different from Masseys Vice Chanc cancelling the venue for Don Brash. Or Phil Goff cancelling the venue for Moloneux and Southern. It’s simple, it’s a disease bred in left circles to stop and views they don’t agree with, or we will protest and disrupt or threaten violence like petulant children until they get their way. i have no personal objection to any of the speakers, all are welcome to have their say, however. Any student considering Massey must seriously consider if they will get a broad education or one that is so filtered to the minorities views, and PC views the education they are offering is worthless! Final point. Massey and other universities and similar organisations need to stop the tail wagging the dog and state they are an open and inclusive organisation and all views are welcome, if people don’t agree that’s fine but stay away. Simple! Good on you Rachel.

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  17. Great article. Appalling that the whole story is not being covered in depth by the media and a sad reflection of the quality of mainstream journalism in this country. The whole thing is very worrying.

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  18. The thug’s veto wins again. They’re being rewarded for tantrums, and coddled like small children. I fear for the future of our youth – the institutions not so much. They lost their spines and brains long ago.

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  19. Well written article Rachel, you stand by your principles. Free speech for all or it’s not free speech at all.
    Speech is a battle of ideas. When one side is forced into silence, it’s because the other side has nothing better to offer. They’ve resorted to using their power and influence to make themselves right.
    The battle of ideas has now regressed into might makes right.
    “Health and safety” has become the preferred excuse to silence speakers.
    They completely ignore the rights of the students who wanted to attend the venue.
    They’ve placed the rights of one group above the rights of another group.
    Words are not violence. Ideas can be accepted or rejected.
    When the individual’s rights are protected, everyone’s rights are protected. When you place certain groups above others, the individual loses their rights.

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  20. Every female should be worried that their very private space , the toilet , will be open to any MALE who is mentally sick and is a real danger to them.
    The New Conservative Party has a clear policy on the issue.” There are only two genders” Please see the website for the full policy.
    They are also 100 per cent in favour of free speech.

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  21. Thanks for trying to bring this issue into the mainstream Rachel. Unfortunately the media is more concerned about upsetting a minority than discussing these really important cultural disputes. Thus the majority of people are blissfully unaware that their freedom of speech is being stolen from under their noses and women’s hard-won rights are being usurped.

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  22. These clowns wonder why their industry is in terminal decline and why people like Trump and Boris are being elected.

    The Herald has always censored of course but now the internet provides alternative platforms and sources. The best opinion columns rarely come from journalists.

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  23. Men-blaming feminists vs transgender activists. If they can both somehow lose then the rest of us win. My main reaction to this ‘battle’, is amusement combined with a increasing concern for the assault on free speech, which has mattered to fem activists like Rachel Stewart, since the shoe was on the other foot.

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    1. Seriously all women lose, you lose nothing or not right away but eventually men will lose to. Wake up.

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  24. It’s a pity so much of the article is a rant against men when most men would consider the male opponents of the Speak Up for Women event to be other than men.

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  25. Brilliant! We are becoming so afraid to speak the truth or have an opinion for fear of upsetting someone regardless of the topic. I don’t want any organisation or news outlet making decisions for me on what’s right or wrong – I have a brain, a conscience, empathy and intelligence – I will make my own mind up. Good on you Rachel!

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  26. Go Rachel! .. by the way, what happened to your Patreon weekly articles? I had subscribed but things went silent so I cancelled my monthly payment. Happy to restart, just want to receive your valuable words!

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  27. another excellent piece by Rachel Stewart. I also stand by what Rachel has written and am furious at the NZ Herald (also known for its pro GE/GMO bias and refusal to print letters to the editor from highly qualified independent scientists with concerns about any outdoor use of GE/GMOs / gene edited organisms) for not printing Rachel’s latest.

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  28. Wonderful! Excellent! You said it all so well – thanks!

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