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Does your council say gender instead of sex


WomansPlaceUK, sex not gender, protected characteristics, model letter, local councils, gender incorrect, campaignSex is a protected characteristic. Not gender: sex. Two different things.

The Equality Act (2010) identifies 9 protected characteristics.

They are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, race, sex and sexual orientation.

These protected characteristics exist to ensure that everyone is treated equally and fairly and to guard against discrimination.

It is important that these protected characteristics are correctly listed, yet lots of councils list gender instead of sex.

This is incorrect.

All public authorities have a duty to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act.

A failure to list sex as sex, not as gender – biology not culture – suggests, at the very least, ignorance of the law – which may well lead to such authorities failing to uphold the rights of this protected characteristic properly.

WomansPlaceUK who are running a campaign on this issue, are therefore asking everyone to check the policies of their local council to see if they are compliant with the Equality Act.

If not, please write to them and ask them to make the necessary corrections.

Even if they seem to be compliant on one page, it may be worth writing to ask them to check they are compliant across all their policies, as several councils have different terms on different pages.

There should be a contact email on the local council’s website.

WomansPlaceUK have put together a model letter:


Public Sector Equality Duty and Protected Characteristics

The list of protected characteristics you are using is incorrect.

There are 9 protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

You have incorrectly listed gender as a protected characteristic when the protected characteristic is sex.

Not only is this incorrect but it is misleading and may prevent people from accessing their rights under the law.

* Please correct this inaccuracy in all council policies/Please confirm that you are using the correct term of ‘sex’ across all your policies (*adapt as appropriate).

I look forward to hearing from you.


Please send any responses to WomansPlaceUK via their contact page.

WomansPlaceUK will be collating responses in a spreadsheet which they will share with you when they have it.

For more details and guidance on the Equality Act 2010 see here.

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