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To think it might be useful to know how many men and women we have in this country?

(105 Posts)
busyboysmum Sun 08-Oct-17 10:35:17

The UK is to become one of the first countries in the world not to require its citizens to let officialdom know what sex they are.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is proposing to make the sex question in the next census voluntary, after protests that it discriminates against transgender and other non-binary people.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/no-sex-please-this-is-the-census-sswntgs5z?shareToken=77358bbde829f11d5748d07af324243a

AIBU to think that we need to know how many men and women there are in society - how on earth can we plan for health services like maternity services, cancers such as prostrate and cervical cancers etc if there isn't even a base line figure for the number of men and women in the country?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 08-Oct-17 10:37:54

I think it is utterly insane. Also, presumably population projections take the different longevities of men and women into account so how can we accurately do that without this information?

busyboysmum Sun 08-Oct-17 10:52:49

Not sure. I'm no longer sure the government take any long term planning into account when announcing policy. They seem like everyone else in this country to go for whatever makes them look good in the short term.

toolonglurking Sun 08-Oct-17 10:56:11

I wouldn't get too het up about what you read in the papers.

happymumof4crazykids Sun 08-Oct-17 11:03:13

Can't we just add an other box?

busyboysmum Sun 08-Oct-17 11:04:54

Would make sense but apparently not. That would upset people. I'm not sure why people can't make their minds up about what sex they are and tick a box. It's not exactly rocket science. I care absolutely nothing for how they present themselves but we really do need to have some accurate figures in order to make policy decisions.

ThePeanutGallery Sun 08-Oct-17 11:06:32

Your gender at birth is recorded on your birth certificate, therefore the government knows exactly how many males & females are being born. Census's are less about assessing current population levels, and more about assessing population trends such as religion, income level, marriage vs. cohabitation, and even things like gender identity. So REALLY, they will be getting valuable information on how Briton's are identifying themselves by allowing people not to declare their gender.

Ereshkigal Sun 08-Oct-17 11:13:35

It's your SEX that's recorded at birth. Not your "gender". That is apparently something which can change. Biological sex cannot.

BigDeskBob Sun 08-Oct-17 11:13:58

"So REALLY, they will be getting valuable information on how Briton's are identifying themselves by allowing people not to declare their gender."

If half the population leave that section blank - what do we learn?

Ereshkigal Sun 08-Oct-17 11:14:39

How are they "getting valuable information" if they take the sex/gender info out or make it optional?

ThePeanutGallery Sun 08-Oct-17 11:17:08

It's your SEX that's recorded at birth. Not your "gender".

Either way, the government is aware how many biological males & females are in the country.

If half the population leave that section blank - what do we learn?

The half the population either doesn't identify as male or female, or doesn't want to put their gender. Either way it leaves room for further study. Which means that the government may allot money for scientific study in this area to determine the source of the trends and how they will have to adjust in future.

Ereshkigal Sun 08-Oct-17 11:20:28

Conflating biological sex and gender identity is entirely unhelpful.

Anlaf Sun 08-Oct-17 11:21:47

I wouldn't get too het up about what you read in the papers.

When the papers are reporting something that is intended to become law, and which is likely to affect women, there is no harm in getting a little het up. The ONS report this (and all the other press) is based on is here:
www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/classificationsandstandards/measuringequality/genderidentity/qualitativeresearchongenderidentityphase1summaryreport

We would tentatively recommend that an unchanged 2011 Census question should not be mandatory, for the benefit of, particularly, intersex and non-binary people who cannot choose male or female as a reflection of their current sex or gender.

It won't become law immediately but it's (tentatively) being turned into a White Paper as first stage to becoming law.

The ONS also say The issues regarding the validity and unacceptability of the 2011 “Sex” question suggest its continued use as a harmonised standard should be reviewed.

This essentially means they may remove any requirement to collect sex in official statistics

Imagine what that means for statistics on women in work, or education, or domestic violence

The list of "Social Surveys" here www.ons.gov.uk/surveys/informationforhouseholdsandindividuals/householdandindividualsurveys

Anlaf Sun 08-Oct-17 11:25:35

Sorry -that might not be clear - the ONS propose to make sex question optional in the Census, and to review it's being made optional in "social surveys", e.g.

National Crime Survey
Labour Force Survey
Family Resources Survey
etc...

Greypaw Sun 08-Oct-17 11:27:05

* *Either way, the government is aware how many biological males & females are in the country.

Birth statistics will tell them how many biological males and females are born in this country, but not how many inhabit it.

TimbuktuTimbuktu Sun 08-Oct-17 11:29:20

This is just ridiculous. What is the point of the census if it doesn't collect the most basic information. We might as well not bother.

ThePeanutGallery Sun 08-Oct-17 11:33:41

Birth statistics will tell them how many biological males and females are born in this country, but not how many inhabit it.

Well death records and immigration/tax records will also let them know how many people are in the country, so its a fairly simple matter to work out how many biological males/females are in the country based on the birth,death & immigration records.

MargaretTwatyer Sun 08-Oct-17 11:36:53

Your gender at birth is recorded on your birth certificate, therefore the government knows exactly how many males & females are being born.

Not everybody is born here. Plus now people are dying a different sex from how they are born they don't have an accurate picture of how many of each birth sex are dying either.

Census's are less about assessing current population levels, and more about assessing population trends such as religion, income level, marriage vs. cohabitation, and even things like gender identity.

Untrue. It's used to allocate funding and resources which is precisely based on population levels and make up (age, gender) and social issues are less relevant to this. See:

www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011census/whywehaveacensus/lessonslearnedfromthe2001census

www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011census/2011censusbenefits/howothersusecensusdata

So REALLY, they will be getting valuable information on how Briton's are identifying themselves by allowing people not to declare their gender.

No they won't. All it would tell them is how many people haven't answered the question. Not why.

StealthPolarBear Sun 08-Oct-17 11:37:03

There was talk a little while ago about the census being discontinued and the information gathered from other administrative sources, hmrc I'd assume. I wonder what has happened to that.

StealthPolarBear Sun 08-Oct-17 11:37:29

"Plus now people are dying a different sex from how they are born"
No they're not

Penny4UrThoughts Sun 08-Oct-17 11:38:48

The NHS records will be enough for the medical services to plan ahead I would have thought.

If they are using national statistics to figure ourlt the demographic of their patients, they need to be looking closer at how they use the information they already hold...

Rumandraisin1 Sun 08-Oct-17 11:39:51

Sex = Biological sex which cannot be changed
Gender = the different stereotypical views about and behavioural expectations which are placed on men and women

Collecting data on biological sex (not just on the census but in other areas where this is also being erased) allows us, for example, to assess the pay gap between men and women, understand life expectancy changes for both sexes, analyse where government policies are disproportionately affecting women, allows health authorities to understand the sex and age profile of a local population as this will affect their health needs etc etc

Biological sex matters - Women's bodies are different from men's bodies in important ways and , because of this, we are treated differently from men. The erasure of sex and its replacement with 'gender identity' is a threat to women and girls.

I think this short article neatly sums up some of the reasons why we need to record biological sex:

fairplayforwomen.com/sexist-society

scaevola Sun 08-Oct-17 11:40:12

Yes, anlaf it may affect women, but it affects men too as both sex/genders are covered.

As pointed out, the government has other data sets which will capture the numbers with sufficient granularity for planning purposes.

Whether we need a census at all is, I think, a good question. It was clearly valuable in the days before the computerisation, and possible harmonisation, of Govt datasets. Now, I think you could make a good case against many aspects, but there do remain some which are not replicated elsewhere. I think that after a couple more, the census might be abolished (it'll keep running until it's so duplicative that Parliament does find time/energy to Do Something about it).

Ifailed Sun 08-Oct-17 11:40:31

why not two boxes, one for sex and one for gender?

StealthPolarBear Sun 08-Oct-17 11:41:21

I think the plan was not to have a 2021 one actually

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