Institutional Sexism in the Green Party

by Dawn Furness

Institutional Sexism in the Green Party

by Dawn Furness
Dawn Furness
Case Owner
Climate Change is happening at an unprecedented rate. I devoted 8 years to a political party that expelled me after whistleblowing on safeguarding & Women's sex-based rights.
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Dawn Furness
Case Owner
Climate Change is happening at an unprecedented rate. I devoted 8 years to a political party that expelled me after whistleblowing on safeguarding & Women's sex-based rights.
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I am taking the Green Party to court for institutional sexism, and discrimination on the grounds of sex and on the basis of my Gender Critical beliefs. 

The core of my case is that the Green Party has a disciplinary system has been weaponised to systematically purge gender critical women from the party, using false allegations of transphobia against women who assert their sex-based rights under the Equality Act 2010.

In order to fight climate change we need a coordinated, cohesive, global political response. We can't do that in an organisation that intimidates and bullies women simply for holding basic and scientifically non-controversial views about what it means to be a woman.  

I have been the subject of this treatment.  My claim states that I have been physically assaulted, suspended and expelled as part of this campaign; that as chair of Green Party Women, I watched as Party officials disenfranchised women from party policies and procedures; and that the hierarchy of the Party, including its leaders, not only tolerated but actively pursued these efforts against women.

My lawyers – Peter Daly of Doyle Clayton and Chris Milsom of Cloisters Chambers - have prepared detailed Particulars of Claim setting out my case at length.  These Particulars of Claim run to 77 pages,  These have been sent to the Green Party as part of a Letter Before Action. We are awaiting their response.

Among the aspects of the Green Party’s institutional discrimination that I will be litigating are:

  1. That Green Party policies on how women are defined and treated within the Party were put in place by David and Aimee Challenor and were left in place after David Challenor was imprisoned for 22 years for child sex offences.
  2. That Green Party officers indicated support for David Challenor after his conviction, and members who challenged those expressions of support were disciplined.  Even those who – like me - expressed solidarity with those challenging support for David Challenor were disciplined.
  3. That the Report into the Challenors’ involvement in the party identified serious safeguarding risks, which have still not been addressed.
  4. When women members of the Green Party (including me) attempted to pass democratic motions seeking to overturn the policies that the Challenors had brought about, those motions were illegitimately and undemocratically defeated by the Party leadership.
  5. That women who expressed gender critical beliefs (or who were even suspected of holding those beliefs) were blacklisted and excluded from Party platforms.
  6. That Officers made concerted attempts to ensure that women who stood for election to internal roles had their results suppressed in favour of males who had received fewer votes.
  7. That women who tried to meet to discuss the role of women in the party had their meetings sabotaged by Party officers to the extent that the women had to meet in secret.
  8. That the leadership of Green Party Women were denied access to its membership database, to prevent women from democratically meeting and organising.
  9. That I was physically assaulted twice, and when this was reported to officers, their only reaction was to laugh.
  10. As the unsuccessful Parliamentary Candidate for the Green Party in 2019, male officers in the party cheered and celebrated my loss to the Conservative candidate, while watching the result being announced on TV, shouting the word “TERF” at the TV screen at Party HQ.
  11. Members - including me - who expressed gender critical beliefs were disciplined and suspended, often in processes that took years, denying us any democratic role while those processes were ongoing.

There is much more besides.

I need your help to take this forward.  My lawyers have undertaken months of work on my behalf and put together a detailed and formidable case.  They deserve to be paid for their work.

The next step will be to receive the Green Party’s reply to the Letter Before Action and, unless a full concession is made, lodge the Claim at Court.  This will incur Court Fees.  Following that, we will need to litigate the claim to a conclusion.  Such is the scale of the case that this will be extremely expensive.  I cannot do this without you.

In preparing the case, I have also had cause to collate material which may form the basis of a separate referral to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  

As with all claims in litigation – and particularly in discrimination law – I could lose this case.  Neither I nor my lawyers expect this outcome, but it is the nature of bringing court proceedings.  The scale of the case is significant and as Claimant, the burden of proof is on me.  And if I lose, I may be liable for the Party’s costs.  This is a huge personal risk for me, but I am willing to take that risk given what is at stake: restoring democracy to political climate justice in the UK.  

In the first instance, I am seeking to raise £10,000 for the work already done.  

All of the money donated (except the amounts that CrowdJustice deduct) will only be used on legal and court fees.  I will receive none of the money donated.  Any donations that are made but unused will be donated to other cases on behalf of gender critical claimants.

Please help me.

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