Just a few minutes to take your seats for our Webinar on Sex in the Census We will be tweeting at #WPUKCensus. .
Welcome. Event is chaired by @selina_todd who is introducing now #WPUKCensus
As an introduction @selina_todd explains how counting females shows how expectations change and how women and men experience life differently because of our sex. #WPUKCensus
Census shows how gendered roles are not down to biology but can change over time. It shows changes in employment market and education. Refuting notion that women accepted gendered roles #WPUKCensus
It's because women were counted in census that we are able to show how roles changed over time #WPUKCensus
Now talking about the boycott of the Census in 1911 by women fighting for Votes for Women. #WPUKCensus
Introducing @ProfAliceS now.
Now turning to @ProfAliceS, starting presentation by discussing 2021 Census sex guidance. Proposed guidance to accompany sex question advises respondents may answer sex question in terms of gender identity. Turning sex question into a question about gender identity. #WPUKCensus
No guidance prior to 2011. Guidance brought in without consultation. And likely to have more impact in 2021. #WPUKCensus
Rise in trans and non-binary identities in recent years will impact continuity of data #WPUKCensus
We are already losing data on sex. For example ACAS advise that data could be categorised by gender identity and data on non-binary people excluded #WPUKCensus
In Crime, police forces recording crimes by men as thought they were committed by women at the request of the perpetrator #WPUKCensus
In health, gender identity also replacing sex #WPUKCensus.
Sex matter in data collection because it's a fundamental explanatory variable #WPUKCensus. Giving an example about sex ratio at birth internationally. Some countries have higher rate of boys at birth.
Sex predicts almost every aspect of social life. If one looks at violent crime - vast majority of men are not violent criminals, but vast majority of violent crime is committed by men. Particularly marked for sexual violence #WPUKCensus
Women have historically been second class citizens when it comes to data. Many examples in @CCriadoPerez book Invisible Women #WPUKCensus
Sex, gender and gender identity are three distinct concepts which are increasingly being conflated in data collection. #WPUKCensus
Confusion about sex in data collection has been sown - idea that sex is a spectrum or that there are more than two sexes #WPUKCensus
That being non-binary means you don't have a sex. That people with DSDs are a third sex or that this is a gender identity. Sex is a social construct which is arbitrarily assigned. #WPUKCensus
Accurate data matters for all of us, and that includes trans people. For instance, why are so many more girls identifying as the opposite sex whereas in older generation this is less so? #WPUKCensus
It is not controversial that sex is important. So, how have these changes happened? Only because of intense lobbying by people who think that sex should be regarded as irrelevant. #WPUKCensus
Chilling effect of bullying by extremists. "with a heavy heart I have chosen to swallow my integrity on this particular issue and keep my head down. I don't like doing this, and I don't like how it feels..." #WPUKCensus
Those who are fearful are not irrational . @ProfAliceS was herself no platformed by National Research centre for her work on this subject #WPUKCensus
We have duties to participants in research, to users of research. We have duty to address important social phenomena and defend science and scholarship in face of bullying. #WPUKCensus
Without accurate data on sex, we lose ability to understand and monitor differences and designed evidence-based policies #WPUKCensus. We should not confuse the concepts of sex and gender identity, but collect data on both.
Paper on which @ProfAliceS presentation based is available at tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.108…
Now Lisa Mackenzie of @mbmpolicy presenting on the proposed changes to the census and census guidance.
Next UK census will take place in England Wales and Northern Ireland in March 2021 and in Scotland in March 2022. There are three UK census authorities #WPUKCensus
Goal in next census is that it will be predominantly filled in online. The sex question in 2021 will be 'What is your sex?' with options male or female. With a separate question on gender identity. #WPUKCensus
Guidance proposed by ONS and NRS now being shown. What they say is that non-binary, transgender, have VSC the answer can be different from what is on your birth certificate. This is self-id. #WPUKCensus.
In 1998 ONS responded to query about which box to tick on sex question that that either box should be ticked according the individual's preference #WPUKCensus
In 2001 Press for Change produced their own guidance with same advice. In 2008 Diversity Solutions made recommendations to ONS on this question. #WPUKCensus
Without consulting women, and in line with Diversity Solutions recommendations, the guidance for Scottish Census following this advice to self-id. #WPUKCensus.
Holyrood Census Bill came to Holyrood in 2018. Narrative builds that guidance is pre-existing. Passage of Westminster census bill in 2019 takes same approach. #WPUKCensus
Impact of 2011 guidance is unknown. This was evidence given by Director of Statistical Services to NRS in 2019. #WPUKCensus.
Vast majority of us will never look at guidance of the sex question. But there may be particular impact on sub-groups of the population. #WPUKCensus
Example given from Stockholm, where 6% of population 22-29 want to live as or be treated as someone of a different sex. #WPUKCensus.
Census is standard setter for other data sets. For example professional polling organisation YouGov framing of question about sex of respondents. #WPUKCensus
Some agencies already not collecting data on sex, but only ask about gender identity. For example Scottish Household Survey. #WPUKCensus.
In the last few weeks ONS wrote to all census authorities. They raise concerns that were brought to them by @ProfAliceS and colleagues and asked census authorities to address those concerns. #WPUKCensus
Final speaker is @janeclarejones, founder of @Fem_Institute
Tonight @janeclarejones is launching report The Political Erasure of Sex: Sex and the Census
This project documents the process of policy capture in public institutions. Report is available at thepoliticalerasureofsex.org
Q. Why is the census situation such a good example of the political erasure of sex? #WPUKCensus
It's an illustration of the desire to overwrite sex with gender identity in public life. #WPUKCensus
Discussing how concept of sex denial develops in 1990s legal activism, in appendix to the report. #WPUKCensus.
Three headlines about where impact of trans rights activism has been felt.
1. Guidance to Sex Question (changed in 2011) which changes meaning of sex variable #WPUKCensus
2. ONS proposed in 2017 that sex question should be be made non-mandatory and only rowed back on this when met resistance. #WPUKCensus
2. NRS proposed replace sex question with gender identity questions. #WPUKCensus
Since 2009 ONS and NRS have consulted almost exclusively with LGBT and trans stakeholders #WPUKCensus.
Example of policy capture. As soon as ONS/NRS start consulting with trans stakeholders they absorb their ideological framework, and don't consider impact on other stakeholders. #WPUKCensus
@janeclarejones now talking about conceptual confusions introduced into question development by taking on trans ideological concepts - results in conflation of sex and gender. #WPUKCensus
ONS use same two pairs of terms (male and female) to define two contrasting concepts (sex and gender). If you want to define concepts, it's a good idea to define them using different terms. #WPUKCensus
At the same time ONS is claiming that they understand Sex is biological. However ONS definition of gender is a mess. #WPUKCensus
ONS simultaneously claims that gender is a social construct and is an internal sense of self. ONS don't notice that UK govt has never produced statutory definition of gender. #WPUKCensus.
ONS engaged in denial of sex denial. Claiming that gender identity question did not affect quality of the data. Only interested in response rate, not interested in conceptual clarity of what they are measuring. #WPUKCensus
It's a fundamental property of research that you are clear about what you are measuring. #WPUKCensus
NRS are clearer about the impact on the 2011 guidance on their thinking, therefore putting definitions side by side which demonstrate their lack of conceptual clarity. #WPUKCensus
In Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill 2018, there is a claim that understanding of sex has changed. NRS then claimed that intention behind the Census Bill was not to conflate sex and gender identity. Even though they transparently had. #WPUKCensus
In question development, trans respondent need is prioritised over user need for census data. There is awareness that sensitivity is needed for question. But there is no precedent for changing questions, and meanings, due to a small pool of respondents. #WPUKCensus
Data that NRS presented in 2018 in Sex and Gender Identity Topic Report, was claimed to support introduction of non-binary sex question. However, this is not supported by their own data. #WPUKCensus
Conclusion was come to by placing disproportionate weight on emotional responses of a small number of people. Data massaged to produce outcome wanted by trans stakeholders. #WPUKCensus
Q. for @ProfAliceS "What can feminists do about the fact that anybody can identify as any sex?" It's the job of people who design questionnaires to get the best data they can. It's not an argument to have guidance that people should answer inaccurately. #WPUKCensus
Arguments don't bear scrutiny, so people are shocked when they find out what is happening.
Q. Should women boycott the Census? Lisa Mackenzie answering that non-completion of the census is illegal and 120 prosecuted in last census. We still have time to affect the outcome of this guidance.
You can make your voices heard using resources at @Womans_Place_UK website womansplaceuk.org/2020/10/18/mak…
@janeclarejones talking, in response to question, about how core idea developed in early 1990s that recognition for trans people = gender should overwrite sex. And this then impacts on policy questions.
Difficult to work out how this policy capture has happened is that it happened behind closed doors. #WPUKCensus
Q. about Census amendment bill - was its purpose to allow voluntary questions? Lisa Mackenzie answering - yes, but questions - after parliamentary scrutiny - are not the problem, the problem is the guidance. There is no external or scrutiny of guidance #WPUKCensus
Denton's report advised on how to introduce self-id - avoid media coverage, tag onto more popular reforms such as same-sex marriage, and become embedded with youth wing of political parties. Clear examples of this in relation to the census #WPUKCensus
Had it not been for @JoanMcAlpine and Holyrood committee scrutiny of the proposals, we would be in a very different place. #WPUKCensus
Q. for @ProfAliceS - are there specific reasons why discussing sex and gender is so difficult in social research?
A. The vast majority of colleagues support me and understand importance of sex data.
The problem is pressure from people without expertise in using the census trying to no platform and shut down people who have the expertise. #WPUKCensus
Q. about the way in which intersex is treated in census guidance.
A. NRS were clear they were not measuring biological sex, but self-id sex. This was objected to by @dsdfamilies in representations to Scottish Parliament. #WPUKCensus
Instrumentalisation of intersex in debate went unchecked until dsd families intervened and affected outcome.
Q. Is there a deadline to have an impact on outcome?

A. There's no consultation. Census is now postponed by a year in Scotland. There's no known set date, but we must be on the cusp of being decided. Regulator has said that issues raised must be addressed. #WPUKCensus
Q. to all speakers. What is your capsule argument to deliver this issue to MPs and other representatives?
Q. to @ProfAliceS - why have ONS been unwilling to talk to women given depth of data and argument?

A. They are not just unwilling to talk to women, but to *experts* (men and women) who use sex data. Doesn't know answer - a job for future social historians. #WPUKCensus
But in general, the question - how did we get to point where women's voices do not seem to count? Apologises for restating question - but overwhelmed, incredulous - at failings of ONS to listen to sensible points made by researchers.
@janeclarejones Census is an exercise in data collection and fundamental principle of data collection is knowing what you are collecting. Sex variable question on census is to collect data not to validate identity. But that is what the ONS/NRS has done. #WPUKCensus
Lisa Mackenzie of @mbmpolicy . Purpose of census is to collect data for allocation of resources and making policy. State should not be actively guiding people to answer sex question with gender identity. We need robust data on census for men and for women.
Sex for women is basis of experiences of disadvantage of discrimination.
@ProfAliceS Sex Matters. It is unethical not to try to collect accurate data on sex. We lose ability to understand change over time. To evaluate policy. #WPUKCensus
@selina_todd wrapping up now. Reminding that you can write to MP/MSP womansplaceuk.org/2020/10/18/mak…
Thank you, and goodnight #WPUKCensus

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