Draft guidance on collecting sex and gender data – feedback

The Scottish Government’s Sex and Gender in Data Working Group asked for feedback on their Draft Guidance. Our submission is as follows, and can also be downloaded as a pdf:

Sex:
It is disappointing that the Draft Guidance does not give clear definitions for the terms sex, gender and gender identity, preferring instead to rely upon definitions provided by a range of other organisations, and without specifying an agreed definition to be used consistently by all organisations using the guidance.

The references cited from the World Health Organisation, the Royal Statistical Society, and the USA Federal Interagency Working Group on Improving Measurement of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Federal Surveys all state that sex refers to biological characteristics yet the Draft incorrectly introduces a statement that this objective and biological classification can instead be an emotional feeling. 

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Count Women So Women Count

When will you start caring about data? About the importance of sex-disaggregated data? When will you start caring about the way in which we are already replacing data on sex with data on gender identity? When will you realise that it matters? That counting women matters or else they quite literally don’t count.

Maybe you will start caring when the newspapers report that there is an apparent explosion in ‘female’ sexual offending rates. Because it won’t take many transwomen being convicted of sexual offences to double or triple the offending rate.

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Police Scotland

Following Joan McAlpine’s Paliamentary Question on 13th March which discovered that Police Scotland and the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service both record incidents on the basis of self-declared gender identity rather than sex, one of our members sought further clarification.

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Sex Matters

Ahead of the census debate we are concerned that the definitions of male and female in Scots Law and practice need to be robust and that appropriate protections can also be put in place for the trans community through proper data gathering. But conflating sex and gender serves no-one and hurts many.

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Census Briefing Notes

Briefing Notes: Stage One Debate on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Background

For Women Scotland was delighted to have had the opportunity to give evidence at committee stage regarding proposed changes to the 2021 census.

We fully support the proposal to gather data with regard to gender identity and sexual orientation and, due to the sensitive nature of these questions, that this should be done on a voluntary basis. The census is an ideal way to gather detail on small populations to better enable provisions.

The committee also considered calls to conflate sex and gender identity within the compulsory M/F question or to add the category “other”. The Stage 1 report was clear in recommending that these characteristics should remain distinct and that a non-binary option should not be added.

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Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

Press Statement – Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill – Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee Meeting, Scottish Parliament, 06 December 2018

Forwomen.scot were grateful to the CTEEA Committee for listening to our concerns regarding the proposed changes to the census in Scotland.

We believe that, to be robust, a census must capture the most accurate population data possible. Many of our providers – especially in healthcare and social services – have clear need for the most accurate demographic information. This is especially important when considering the rights of women as they are more likely to access public services in Scotland.

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Self-ID and Driving Licences

Note: This blog post was originally published on the ManFriday website.

I’ve frequently read on Twitter of claims that the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act will merely be an extension of the self-identification processes we already have for passports and driving licences.

This was news to me.  It was a long time ago admittedly, but I seem to recall needing my birth certificate when I first applied for a driving licence.  So I thought I’d investigate a bit further. Google took me to justbeyourself.org.uk which explained the peculiarities of how a person’s sex is shown on their driving licence: section 5 shows your driving number: the seventh character of which is either 0 or 1 for male, or 5 or 6 for female.  Checked my licence: yip, a five for me. Continue reading