Nashville, TN – Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) applauds Tennessee’s final passage of the Women’s Bill of Rights (WBOR)-inspired legislation that protects equal opportunity for women by legally defining terms such as ‘sex,’ ‘female,’ and ‘male.’ 

The bill, which amends the Tennessee code to apply clear biology-based definitions across all TN statutes, was signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

The bill was inspired by Independent Women’s Voice’s Women’s Bill of Rights and helped close a loophole in the Tennessee Accommodation for All Children Act of 2021, which states that “Evidence of a person’s biological sex includes, but is not limited to, a government issued identification document that accurately reflects a person’s sex listed on the person’s original birth certificate,” but failed to add “sex” as a defined term for statutory construction purposes. With the passage of this legislation, there is now clarity across Tennessee law which mentions “sex” hundreds of times.

In March 2022, Independent Women’s Voice, Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC), and Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) collaborated to draft model legislation known as the Women’s Bill of Rights. The U.S. Chapter of Women’s Declaration International (WDI, USA) also endorses WBOR.

The Tennessee legislation will prevent judges, unelected bureaucrats, and administrators in Tennessee from unilaterally redefining the word ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ or from redefining the word ‘woman’ to mean anyone who “identifies as a woman.” In this way, the Women’s Bill of Rights creates transparency, preserves truth in labeling, and protects  the legislature’s authority to determine whether, and in what circumstances, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, athletic teams, lockerooms, sororities, and dormitories should remain single-sex or be opened to biological males who identify as female. 

Other states across the nation inspired by WBOR are advancing similar legislation to clarify the legal meaning of common sex-based words. 

“The Women’s Bill of Rights legislation codifies the long-established understanding that when the law refers to a person’s sex, it means their biological sex.  Tennessee’s lawmakers have every right to reiterate that our laws against sex discrimination mean exactly what everyone has understood them to mean since the moment of their adoption.  Passage of the Women’s Bill of Rights by the General Assembly and Governor Lee ensures continued protection of educational opportunities and privacy rights for girls and women,” said Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

“I am proud to have worked with Independent Women’s Voice to amend Tennessee’s code to codify the most basic sex-based terms and ensure there is no confusion about the definition of male and female in Tennessee code. I was inspired by the Independent Women’s Law Center’s Women’s Bill of Rights when I introduced this legislation and am pleased we were able to enact this bill into law,” said Tennessee state Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).

“Change in society is natural, inevitable, and beneficial. But change must always be in accord with the laws of nature. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in society where common words like “man or woman,” “male or female,” “boy or girl” have come under attack. I am proud to have sponsored legislation to amend the Tennessee code to define the biological term “sex” to ensure that our laws are crystal clear so that judges and bureaucrats understand the biological and genetic differences between a man and a woman,” said Tennessee state Representative Gino Bulso (R-Brentwood).

“I applaud the Tennessee legislature’s passage of their Women’s Bill of Rights,” said Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger. “As the Radical Left continues to attack and erase women from society, it is more important than ever to ensure that protections against biological males’ access to women’s facilities and sports are enshrined into law.”

“As a Tennessee native, resident, woman, and collegiate athlete, I am so proud of the Tennessee legislature for codifying sex-based terms in their statutory code. The goal of the Women’s Bill of Rights is to raise awareness for politicians to legally define what it means to be a woman. Make no mistake, from the state legislature, to the Governor, to the Congressional delegation, TN’s political leaders know what a woman is. Thank you for your leadership and common sense embrace of basic biology and science,” said Riley Gaines 12x All-American swimmer and Independent Women’s Forum spokeswoman.

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s law Center, the legal advocacy arm of Independent Women’s Voice, said, “At IW, we know what a woman is. And we are proud that Tennessee lawmakers do too.”

Read and sign the Women’s Bill of Rights HERE.

Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.