Sex matters in life | in law

Sex Matters welcomes two new team members 

Fiona McAnena is joining Sex Matters as director of campaigns and Laura Pascal is joining as public affairs manager. 

Fiona McAnena

Fiona McAnena joins Sex Matters following five years working as part of Fair Play For Women, during which time she directed FPFW’s successful sport campaign and worked on judicial review cases on the census in England and Wales and Scotland. 

Fiona will work with Maya Forstater and Helen Joyce to lead Sex Matters’ strategic engagement with policy-makers, media, businesses and organisations, and other campaign groups. In particular, she will strengthen our advocacy for protecting the female sport category, working with scientists, policy-makers and UK and international sports federations.

Fiona previously worked in brand management and marketing strategy in multinational businesses. She read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge where she also won a rowing blue. She still rows competitively and is a keen parkrunner.

Photo: Lisa Neidich

Laura Pascal has worked for a decade in Whitehall and Westminster in policy and external affairs. She was a civil servant at the Department of Health during the coalition government, and at the Department for Education under the current government. Since 2022 she has worked in third-sector policy and public affairs, supporting charities working in poverty reduction, health and education. 

Laura will lead Sex Matters’ work supporting and influencing ministers, civil servants and parliamentarians to understand sex-based rights and safeguarding, and finding opportunities to leverage those relationships to ensure that gender-critical voices are heard. 

Laura has an MSc in Gender, [International] Development and Globalisation from the London School of Economics. An active feminist and political and community campaigner, she stood as a Labour candidate in a by-election for Hackney Council in January 2024.

Fiona McAnena said:

“Sex Matters is doing essential work to defend human rights, especially those of women and girls. Sex Matters and Fair Play For Women were already working closely, so we know each other well. Maya and Helen are a class act and I’m proud to be on their team.”

Laura Pascal said:

“It’s great to be joining such a strong team at Sex Matters, at a time when campaigning for clarity about sex in law is more important than ever. I’m really pleased to be on board.”

Naomi Cunningham, chair of Sex Matters, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Fiona and Laura to the Sex Matters team. Fiona has done outstanding work to advance the case for sex-based rules in sport, as well as for clear language and data concerning sex. Laura brings deep experience of working in politics and policy-making. Both have shown commitment and bravery in standing up for sex-based rights.

Fiona and Laura bring a huge wealth of experience and relationships, and I have no doubt they will make Sex Matters even more effective. We look forward to continuing to work with other groups campaigning for fairness, safety, dignity and clarity in laws and policies where sex matters, including Fair Play For Women and the groups supporting parliamentarians on these issues.”

About Sex Matters

Sex Matters is a human-rights organisation co-founded in 2021 by Maya Forstater, who is its director, to campaign for sex-based rights. It lobbies for clarity on sex in law and institutions; publishes research, guidance and analysis; supports and mobilises people to speak up; and holds organisations accountable.