Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the charity which commissioned the survey, routinely refers to “women” in its campaigns.
Samantha Dixon, the chief executive of the charity, said: “At Jo’s, we talk about women and people with a cervix to ensure our messages about cervical screening are heard and understood by everyone who may need them, regardless of sexual or gender identity.”
The row comes as Nicola Sturgeon’s government pushes ahead with highly controversial plans to reform gender laws in Scotland.
The changes would make it far easier for people to legally change gender, allowing this to be done through self-declaration and removing the need for a medical diagnosis, and lower the age at which a gender recognition certificate can be obtained to 16.
Nicola Sturgeon dismisses campaigners’ concerns
Some feminist campaigners believe that the very meaning of what it means to be a woman is being rewritten and that they could be put at risk by routinely allowing male-bodied people into settings such as women’s refuges, changing rooms and jails.
However, Ms Sturgeon has dismissed the concerns as “not valid”.
The number of tests carried out for cervical cancer dropped by 45 per cent last year in Scotland, after the screening programme was paused during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We are confident that the variety of work taking place as part of this campaign to encourage women to attend for screening will reach those eligible and ultimately save more lives.
“This campaign has been developed to help all those eligible for a smear test to feel less anxious, and provide information and advice to reassure them and help make their appointment easier.”