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HR database sex and gender

(44 Posts)
FemaleAndLearning Sat 23-May-20 09:29:21

What should a human resources database ask about your sex and gender and how should the questions be asked?
Personally I think there should be two questions, maybe on the same page.

I don't like the question what is your gender with answer options being male, female, non-binary and possibly prefer not to say. As this conflates sex and gender.

How can HR monitor sex discrimination if we only have gender?
What are HR actually asking the question for? Why bother?
Is there any guidance on this? From HR point of view being seen to be inclusive is what it is about, but what are the pitfalls?

Would something like this be acceptable?
What is your sex? Male, female
What is your gender? Man, woman, trans, non-binary, other (specify).

EmpressLangClegInChair Sat 23-May-20 09:31:32

Would you also have an option for those of us who reject gender on principle & just want to be noted by sex? Or would that fit into the ‘other’ free text box?

Lordfrontpaw Sat 23-May-20 09:49:56

They need your sex - gender is no use unless
the two don’t match - then HR may expect the person in question to want certain things. How can the answer the gender pay gap questions?

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 23-May-20 09:51:21

the problem with that construction is that gender is not a choice, but rather a set of assumptions/expectations/stereotypes that is imposed on a sex. It is time and space specific. What you want to know about is their gender identity, which is (or should be) a useful shorthand for those who consider themselves transgender to explain their identity. So perhaps consider two questions: sex: with the options male or female and gender identity: with the options n/a or specify?

FemaleAndLearning Sat 23-May-20 09:51:46

Empress
I think we would have to use the other box and put no gender?

I'm trying to get ideas to write to HR as a new system is being purchased and they definitely want to include non binary.

Lordfrontpaw Sat 23-May-20 09:52:09

Maybe they just need sex and a photo.

TheHoneyBadger Sat 23-May-20 09:52:55

None needs to be added to the answers for the second q. I don’t ‘have’ a gender only a sex and the gender projected upon it (which would vary according to time, culture, religion etc)

FemaleAndLearning Sat 23-May-20 09:55:33

Yes Pale I would say gender identity too, but not sure HR would go for that as they basically don't seem to understand it all!

Lordfrontpaw Sat 23-May-20 09:58:13

Why would they need to know gender - are they also going to ask for height and eye colour?

SarahTancredi Sat 23-May-20 10:02:13

Definately needs a "none" box

"Other " could mean so many things and I would refuse to identify define myself against an ideology I dont believe in.

If you ask gender surely it should be masculine or feminine or other cos otherwise the sex question is irrelevant if man/woman/male/female is an identity not biological reality.

ChateauMargaux Sat 23-May-20 10:09:36

The gender pay gap should be a sex pay gap but that phrase has connotations of payment for sex.. so we are left with this unclear meaning and male bodied people can now be includes in the female bodied section when comparing the pay of one group with another which makes the comparison meaningless because females are not paid less because they were skirts and heels, they are paid less because of their biology.

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 23-May-20 10:10:11

But do they understand what sex and gender are any better?

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 23-May-20 10:14:21

"From HR point of view being seen to be inclusive is what it is about, but what are the pitfalls?"
Why is being seen to be inclusive what it is about? Serious question. And what is meant by inclusive here?

I expect HR to be non-discriminatory. That is not the same as inclusive. Inclusive seems to me to increasingly mean 'pandering to those who shout the loudest'. Being non-discriminatory means not favouring one set of people to the detriment of another set of people. Applying employment law fairly.

I think your HR department needs to have a look at itself if they think being 'inclusive' (such a wooly term) is what it is about.

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 23-May-20 10:15:10

Why not sex: choose male or female and "gender identity (if relevant)": please specify or leave blank if not relevant.

You can say to HR that everyone knows what sex is and that if someone is transgender they will know what gender identity is (ie they wanted to be regarded as something other than the sex they are)

Imnobody4 Sat 23-May-20 10:22:00

What is the purpose of collecting all this info? Do they also ask for religion and race. Is this what they will use for job applicants?
Basically they just need the protected characteristics sex M/F and separately transgender M/F/other at a push.
Confusing sex and gender doesn't help minorities but does disadvantage those people who do not have a gender. All forms you fill in should be clear, if sex and gender mean the same then use sex because that is the clearest term for the vast majority of people and also applies to the vast majority.

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 23-May-20 10:26:11

So maybe, (1) sex and (2) are you transgender? If so, what is your gender identity?

Lordfrontpaw Sat 23-May-20 10:28:29

But then why not transexual rather than transgender. Aren’t we all under the umbrella now?

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 23-May-20 10:43:32

Because transsexual is specific to transsexuals and transgender covers anyone who wants to record a transgender identity including transsexuals. If someone who is transsexual objects to the term transgender they can write it on the form.

FemaleAndLearning Sat 23-May-20 10:44:42

Chateau, I agree how are they going to understand sex based discrimination and compare pay if there are males the female group. Also risk assessments are based on sex what do you do with a non binary who is make give him the full female risk assessment for an activity?

I need help articulating a letter about all this, preferably with some published guudance.

They don't want to get 'hung' up on the Equality Act so want to include groups outside the Equality Act, again it begs the question why record it at all?
It seems it's more to make people feel better about filling a form in that at the end of the day is confidential.

If someone identifies as transwoman then they must be male. Also if they include transwoman how are they going to spell it trans woman or transwoman?

BuffaloCauliflower Sat 23-May-20 10:49:28

HR here. Our system says gender because it’s an American system we bought in and can’t be changed, but the only options are male and female, as far as I’m concerned it applies to sex and that’s how I use it. Thankfully I’ve not had to come against gender identity/trans issues in our work place to challenge this though.

TheShoesa Sat 23-May-20 11:27:27

You make a really good point regarding risk assesments.

We know that the world is biased towards men. The sex of people is what is important in terms of pay and health and safety, not their gender identity ffs.

Could you use the H&S slant with HR?

popehilarious Sat 23-May-20 11:30:26

I would suggest they need to include a glossary and instructions on how to find out if you have a gender, and if so, what it is. Everyone seems to have different interpretations of the word.

Lordfrontpaw Sat 23-May-20 11:30:53

Surely if they are opted into a health scheme you need to know their sex - no point in calling a woman up for a prostate check really. Surely sex is needed to calculate health insurance too?

Strangerthantruth Sat 23-May-20 13:19:04

HR systems are usually used to provide data to payroll systems. HMRC only accepts male and female. Usually when an employee is put on the payroll they have to prove their identity and right to work. So passports are usually used. People do get these documents changed. Most of us use this payroll data field for gender pay gap and equal pay.

Identity however is a different data field, and yes, organisations are being led to believe they must "monitor" people at work. They don't have to of course but there is a massive pyramid of consultants and other alleged experts doing all this monitoring of us at work. It's all voluntary though, no one has to complete identity or race or anything other than the HMRC requirements of male or female (which is very usefuly analysed by the office of national statistics ONS)

In fact the last pay gap calculations I looked at on ethnicity, the highest paid group refuse to give any data. Why should they, it's not a benign request, it's idealogical monitoring.

I know most of you think HR is universally stupid however it is the diversity and inclusion sect of employees and external bodies that drives this stuff.

Antibles Sat 23-May-20 14:09:47

It should record sex only. Gender is nothing but the social construct. of masculinity/femininity. Gender = sex role stereotype. Why would an HR department want or need to record sex role stereotypes?

Play them at their own game. If they are talking about gender as inner floaty essence, they will need to provide an exact definition of gender plus a drop down list of all 132 genders (or however many it is now).

Even better, perhaps if they don't want to use a long gender list, they could incorporate a sort of spectrum thing on the sheet, ranging from totally masculine at one end to totally feminine at the other and ask responders to mark where they feel their essence sits. As they will realise, this will look as ridiculous as it is, and what could such data possibly be used for?

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