SANTA FE, NM — Today, Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) joined New Mexico lawmakers in a joint press conference to celebrate the introduction of HB 205—IWV’s Women’s Bill of Rights (WBOR)—and call upon Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to stand with women in New Mexico.

By fortifying the definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ terms in law, IWV’s Women’s Bill of Rights in New Mexico would help protect the existence of single-sex spaces, such as rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, prisons, athletic teams, locker rooms, and sororities. The press conference celebrated the advancement of the New Mexico WBOR, introduced by Representative Andrea Reeb and cosponsored by Reps. Jenifer Jones, Gail Armstrong, Cathrynn N. Brown, and Candy Spence Ezzell. 

IWV thanked these state lawmakers for their commitment to ensuring equal opportunity and protections for women and continued calling upon Governor Lujan Grisham to stop giving up on girls and abandoning women and start prioritizing women’s rights. 

“Privacy, safety, and fairness matter,” said Rep. Reeb. “We can respect all people and strive where possible for inclusivity, but inclusivity can never be accomplished on the backs of women.”

Independent Women’s Voice Ambassadors, all who have been directly impacted by the erasure of women, spoke at the press conference. Here is what they had to say:

Riley Gaines, Independent Women’s Voice Ambassador and 12x All-American Swimmer, said, “As an Independent Women’s Voice ambassador, I am using my voice to sound the alarm that the very concept of women is under attack throughout our country, but particularly in New Mexico. I am honored to be joined by lawmakers and advocates who are fighting to protect the opportunities, privacy and safety of women by advancing the New Mexico Women’s Bill of Rights in their state. I call on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to do the same, and prioritize women’s rights.” 

Kim Russell, Independent Women’s Voice Ambassador and former Collegiate Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach, said, “As a former collegiate women’s lacrosse coach and mother, I applaud Representative Reeb for advancing the New Mexico Women’s Bill of Rights, which protects the existence of single-sex spaces for girls and women — whether in the locker room or domestic violence shelters. We cannot continue to ignore biological sex differences. It is time to stand with New Mexican women for their equality and safety.”

Amie Ichikawa, Independent Women’s Voice Ambassador and Founder and Executive Director of Woman II Woman, said, “Incarcerated women that I know and love are facing an exacerbated sense of fear and isolation as they are forced to share quarters with male inmates, and are too afraid of retaliation or losing parole dates to report incidents. Allowing men in women’s prisons blatantly harms women to favor men. Women across the state of New Mexico deserve equal protection. I am grateful to New Mexico lawmakers for advancing Independent Women’s Voice’s Women’s Bill of Rights—ensuring that single-sex spaces continue to protect incarcerated women and give them a voice.”

IWV Ambassadors, led by Gaines, wrote a formal letter requesting Governor Lujan Grisham meet with them to discuss the state of women in New Mexico. The Governor’s Office declined the meeting. To date, there has been no further response from the governor.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

In an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal, Gaines asks: “Why won’t the governor stand with women, or at least meet with us?”

New Mexico laws and regulations use the words ‘woman’ and ‘female’ at least 2,045 times. If enacted, HB 205 would assist judges and bureaucrats interpreting New Mexico law by:

  • Defining sex-based terms;
  • Declaring the state’s interest in protecting certain single-sex spaces; and,
  • Ensuring the accuracy of public data collection.

Women’s Bill of Rights model legislation, first announced in March 2022, was drafted by Independent Women’s Voice and Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) in collaboration with the feminist organization Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF).

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.