While the topic of what defines a “woman” has produced some interesting debates, in California, the San Diego County Board decided to take it upon themselves to vote on the issue. Passing by a 3-2 vote, the board of supervisors decided to change the definition of “woman” that would allow transgender females to gain access to female jails, domestic violence facilities, and homeless shelters. Although the ordinance was ratified in May, it adopted an international treaty signed back in 1979 – The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Signed by Jimmy Carter back in 1980, the treaty might have had the approval of the President, but it was never presented to the Senate. Still, in the ordinance, it expanded on the definition of what is a woman. Take a look. 

  1. “Women and girls” shall mean those who identify as women and girls, including transgender women and gender non-conforming, and those assigned female at birth who include non-binary, transgender men and intersex communities.
  2. “Gender” shall mean the characteristics of women, men, girls, and boys that are socially constructed. As a social construct, gender can vary among cultures and can change over time.
  3. “Gender equity” shall mean the redress of discriminatory practices and ensuring equitable conditions that enable women and girls to achieve full, substantive equality with men, recognizing that needs of women and men may differ, resulting in fair and equitable outcomes for all. This includes the redress of discriminatory practices and ensuring equitable conditions for persons identifying as transgender, nonbinary, and/or gender non-conforming to achieve full equality and equity.
  4. “Intersectional” shall mean the interconnected nature of social categorizations and individual characteristics that overlap as interdependent and compounded systems of discrimination. These categorizations and characteristics include, but are not limited to, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, education, language, and disability.

A local television station, KUSI-TV, broadcasted the vote back in April, reporting, “Now in San Diego County, the definition of ‘women’ will include transwomen and intersex women. Meaning, people considered ‘women’ under the new definition will be allowed in all county facilities including prisons, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters.”