2021 Manifesto: Plaid Cymru

Our society will protect women, children and the vulnerable. – Plaid Cymru


  • We commit to achieving a gender equal Wales based on equality of outcome, not just equality of opportunity. We will create a Cabinet-level post of Minister for Equalities and Women’s Empowerment dedicated to implementing the recommendations of the Gender Equality Review in full.
  • It is not acceptable that the gender pay gap persists at 14.5 per cent in Wales. We will reduce it by increasing the pay for social care workers, awarding real term wage increases for NHS workers, ending zero-hours contracts, and including the provision of gender balance in public procurement contracts.
  • We aim to achieve a 50:50 gender balanced Senedd, at the same time increasing representation of people of colour, LGBT+, disabled and working-class women. We will make the Senedd’s electoral system more proportional in a way that will promote the achievement of this goal.

This comes under the section ‘Women’ yet the focus is entirely on ‘gender’, with no reference to ‘sex’ and no definition of ‘gender’. Would Plaid Cymru consider a Senedd made up of 50 per cent men and 50 per cent transwomen to be ‘gender-balanced’ for instance?

The commitment to improving pay for social care and NHS workers and ending zero hours contracts suggests a recognition that women are over-represented in these groups, but this is not explicitly stated, nor is there acknowledgement of the reasons this situation exists.

Social Justice and Equalities

  • Plaid Cymru believes in a fair and just society where everyone is treated equally and enjoys the same rights and opportunities. We will press for devolution of the Equality Act 2010 to the Senedd.

The manifesto provides no detail about what Plaid Cymru would do with regards to a devolved Equality Act, but the party’s stated declaration that ‘transwomen are women’ suggest that there would be implications for sex as a protected characteristic.

  • We will instil kindness at every level of government and in public policy, following the Scottish Government example. We will also be a Government that recognises the complex intersectional barriers that individuals must overcome. Addressing matters of equality is not a “one size fits all” approach.

It’s unclear what this means. From a feminist perspective, too often the demand for women to ‘be kind’ means to put our own interests and boundaries aside to benefit men.

The cynical among us might also wonder how ‘kindness’ is reflected in the Scottish Government’s opposition to amendments that would have included women as a protected group under its new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill (but which protects cross-dressing men), or its initial rejection of an amendment to its Forensic Medical Services Bill to give survivors of rape and sexual assaults the right to specify the sex rather than the gender of the person examining them after an attack.


  • We will ensure that relationships and experiences of the LGBT+ community – including the trans, nonbinary, and asexual communities are included in the statutory element of Relationships and Sex Education of the new curriculum, in all school settings, and that teacher training is available.

So many questions. What would this entail? Who would provide the teacher training? What would be included and would there be any public consultation on the content? Would teachers be expected to teach gender identity as a fact and what would happen if they refused? Would this include schools and teachers being compelled to automatically ‘affirm’ children’s gender?

  • We will promote LGBT+ participation in sport, as part of broader efforts towards healthier lifestyles, and work with clubs and organisations to be trans-inclusive, and reduce homophobic, and sexist behaviour.

If by ‘trans-inclusive’ Plaid Cymru means the default inclusion of trans identifying males in women’s and girls’ sports, then there are very serious implications, as well as clear conflicts with the Equality Act 2010.

We would want to see far greater clarity on this. The emphasis should be on men’s sports being inclusive of all male people, regardless of how they identify. Women’s and girls’ sports do not exist to validate the identities of men and boys.

Fair Play for Women has excellent resources on the importance of single sex provision in sports.

  • We will continue to fight for equality for trans people. Having secured recurrent funding for a Wales Gender Identity Clinic, Plaid Cymru will work to improve the provision and ensure timely access to its services and support.

Trans people, rightly, have equality under the law, including specific protection from discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

It is unclear what inequalities Plaid Cymru intend to fight against, which we find concerning as some elements of the trans and gender identity lobby consider women’s existing legal sex-based rights and protections to be a manifestation of bigotry and hatred.

  • We support the reform of the Gender Recognition Act to introduce a streamlined, de-medicalised process based on self-declaration and in line with international best practice. We will seek the devolution of powers necessary to introduce this change and will uphold trans people’s right to continue to access services and facilities in accordance with their gender identity.

The Yogyakarta Principles form the basis of what is considered ‘international best practice’ in self-ID. Professor Robert Wintemute, one of the original co-authors of the Yogyakarta Principles, recently said, however, that the international human rights community failed to consider women’s rights when drawing up the principles. You can read Professor Wintemute’s interview with Julie Bindel and Melanie Newman in the Critic magazine.

Will Plaid Cymru reconsider its position in light of this? Ireland is often held up as an example of ‘international best practice’ in self ID. Our blogpost highlights some of the issues women in Ireland face as a result of this legislative change that was brought in with very little public debate.

Trans people’s wish to access services and facilities in line with their gender identity must be considered in light of women’s rights to single sex spaces and services to protect our privacy, dignity and safety as set out under the Equality Act 2010.

  • We will continue to support efforts for full recognition and protection from discrimination for asexual and non-binary people under the law.

From what exactly do ‘nonbinary’ and ‘asexual’ people require protection? How are Plaid defining these terms? If ‘nonbinary’ is recognised in law, why not any other ‘gender identity’? Are there any other personality traits or preferences that Plaid believes should have explicit recognition in legislation? This is nonsense. It is difficult to see this as anything other than Plaid Cymru playing to a small but highly vocal social media audience.

Read Plaid Cymru’s manifesto here