JACKSON, MS – Today, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 1607—the Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights—moving Mississippi one step closer to being a state that stands with women. HB 1607, sponsored by Representative Dana McLean will clearly define “male” and “female” terms based on biology and helps to preserve single-sex spaces such as rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, prisons, athletic teams, locker rooms, and sororities. 

If enacted, HB 1607 would assist judges and federal administrators interpreting Mississippi law by:

  • Defining sex-based terms already used across Mississippi code; and,
  • Declaring Mississippi’s interest in protecting certain single-sex spaces. 

Recent years have seen an aggressive attempt to eliminate women as a distinct legal category. Definitions will bring clarity, certainty, and uniformity to how women are treated under Mississippi law, helping to preserve single-sex spaces that are important for privacy, safety, and equal opportunity. The Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights was passed with bipartisan support in the House, and the bill now moves to the Senate where Independent Women’s Voice urges swift action.

Polling conducted by Independent Women’s Voice confirmed Mississippians want a law defining sex-based terms to pass.1

  • 95% of respondents believe it’s important Mississippi law protects private spaces for women—like locker rooms, prisons, rape-crisis centers and sports. 
  • 87% of respondents think it is important that Mississippi pass a law to define sex-based terms like “man,” “woman,” “female,” and “male.”
  • 65% of respondents said they would be more likely to support their state legislator if they backed legislation to define basic sex-based terms for the purposes of law, with only 14% of respondents less likely to support their state legislator.
  1. Wick Insights Online Survey n=500 Registered Mississippi Voters November 28 – December 5, 2023

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).

Riley Gaines, Independent Women’s Voice ambassador, said: “We live in a society where it’s both necessary and urgent state legislatures define sex-based terms like ‘woman’ in statute. I’m proud and grateful for the leadership of the Mississippi House voting overwhelmingly in support of biological reality. I hope the Senate will move just as swiftly.”

Paula Scanlan, Independent Women’s Voice ambassador, said: “I’m so glad to see the advancement of the Mississippi Women’s Bill of Rights today. I hope the Senate votes quickly, as the 1.5 million women and girls in the state depend on it. This bill is important because it will help protect Mississippi women and girls from sex-based discrimination. It’s a no-brainer for every member of the legislature to support.”

Jennifer C. Braceras, vice president for legal affairs at Independent Women’s Voice and founder of Independent Women’s Law Center, said: “By passing the Women’s Bill of Rights, the Mississippi House has acted in the best interest of its constituents. This bill clarifies the meaning of common sex-based terms to prevent judicial and bureaucratic overreach while leaving space for the legislature to consider complex social issues on a case-by-case basis. I’m hopeful that the Mississippi Senate also knows what a woman is and will take quick action to move this bill to the Governor’s desk.”



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.