We cannot fight sexism in society, if sex is no longer accurately recorded.
“THE COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS OF SEX-BASED DATA AND HIGH-QUALITY RESEARCH MUST BE CENTRAL TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANY SERVICES, POLICIES OR ACTIONS WHICH ADDRESS WOMEN’S NEEDS OR WHICH CHALLENGE SEX DISCRIMINATION AND INEQUALITY.”
In September 2017 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recommended making the census sex question non-mandatory. An action which led Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) and its supporters to launch a series of actions to oppose the eradication of basic, crucial data, which is central to monitoring and challenging all forms of sex discriminations – from wage gaps to household ownership statuses to healthcare needs and access to required resources.
Despite WPUK’s endless attempts over three years to advise the ONS on the great need for every person’s biological sex / sex at birth to be mandatorily recorded, on 12th February, the ONS published their guidance for the sex question in Census 2021.
As predicted, the guidance on the sex question conflated sex with gender identity. In other words, a person could answer the sex question based on what they identified if they so wished.
This means the data to be collected from this one question alone, will no longer be accurate or useable for the purposes for which it is asked.
Census authorities have a duty to record accurate data. By proceeding to conflate concepts of biological sex with gender identity, the ONS has confused what data is being measured, and single-handedly diluted the significance of sex-based data which needs to be used to record and monitor sex-based discriminations – whether that be economic, social or political.
WHAT ACTION TO TAKE
The WPUK are asking that everyone:
- Order a paper copy of the census form. You can order your copy HERE.
- Adapt a template letter which you can find HERE, and enclose it WITH the census when you post it back.
- Share details about this campaign far and wide. Use the hashtags #ChooseToChallenge #SexMatters #WomenCountSoCountWomen