Rishi Sunak said he is mulling over official advice that says amending the definition of sex in law would create greater “clarity” around women-only spaces and access to sport.
The Prime Minister on Wednesday said considering biology is “important” in protecting women’s rights.
It comes after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) concluded that changing the Equality Act to refer to “biological sex” merits further consideration, after the Government asked the watchdog to consider the benefits or drawbacks of such a move.
But it would also be “more ambiguous or potentially disadvantageous” when it comes to equal pay provision and sex discrimination.
Mr Sunak, who pledged to ensure biological sex was written into the 2010 Act during his Tory leadership campaign, was asked whether he would go through with the change, and whether that would result in fewer rights for trans people.
Speaking during a visit to a factory in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: “The first thing to say is that we should have enormous compassion and understanding for anybody who is thinking about their gender and identity.
“But alongside that, it’s important that we also protect and support and ensure women’s rights. And I fundamentally believe that biological sex is important in that regard.
“That’s why the Secretary of State asked the independent advisory board for advice on this matter, they’ve responded and we will consider that advice in the normal way as we always do in these matters.”
Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch wrote to the EHRC in February to ask for its consideration about whether the definition of sex is “sufficiently clear and strikes the appropriate balance of interests between different protected characteristics”.
In conclusion, the body stated that the overall conversation on amending the definition warranted further discussion.
It stated: “On balance, we believe that redefining ‘sex’ in EqA to mean biological sex would create rationalisations, simplifications, clarity and/or reductions in risk for maternity services, providers and users of other services, gay and lesbian associations, sports organisers and employers.
“It therefore merits further consideration.”
During his Tory leadership bid last year, Mr Sunak vowed to review the Equality Act which he said had allowed “woke nonsense to permeate public life”, and said legislation should “block biological men from competing in women’s sport”.