Self-confessed ‘gender critical feminist’ to lead new women’s rights research programme at University of Oxford

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A self-described “gender critical feminist” who has been described as “transphobic” is set to lead a new women’s rights research programme at the University of Oxford.

Selina Todd, is a University of Oxford professor who teaches modern history at St Hilda’s College, who says on her website that she identifies as a “gender critical feminist”. Todd said this means she believes “that men and women are defined by their sex”.

Todd has been announced as a leader of the Oxford Martin Programme on Women’s Equality and Inequality.

The aim of the programme is to “to identify drivers of individual upward mobility, and of generational uplift, that can help to eradicate educational and economic inequality for women around the world”, although it is unclear whether this will include trans women.

Todd was described by her own students as “transphobic” in 2019 over her ties to the anti-trans group Woman’s Place UK (WPUK).

WPUK was this year branded a “trans-exclusionary hate group” by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights. The campaign’s pledges which label WPUK a hate group were signed by Labour politicians including Lisa NandyRebecca Long-BaileyDawn Butler and Emily Thornberry.

The University of Oxford was later accused of fostering anti-trans views after Todd was platformed at a conference organised by Oxford International Women’s Festival.

When several trans allies promptly withdrew from the event, Todd was asked by organisers not to speak.

One speaker who pulled out of the event, Lola Olufemi, said in a statement: “TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] links cut across universities, women’s services and public institutions.

“They have no place in my vision or understanding of the political possibilities that feminism offers us.”

She added: “The reason I withdrew from this panel is because it’s clear the organisers had not done enough to investigate speakers’ links to Woman’s Place UK – a clearly transphobic organisation… I am uninterested in attending feminist events or conferences that do not take a clear stance against this attempt to hijack feminism or allow these networks to exist unchallenged.”

Todd has previously “refuted” the idea that she or WPUK is transphobic.