Scottish local authorities, ‘sex’ and the Equality Act 2010


Review of 32 Scottish local authorities: Representation of the protected characteristic of ‘sex’ under the Equality Act 2010

1.  The purpose of this research was to investigate how the 32 Scottish local authorities are representing the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, specifically, whether they are accurately describing the protected characteristic of ‘sex’.

2.  All the information reviewed was taken from each council’s website (screenshots taken on 9 June, 18 September and 1 October 2018). Wherever a search box was available on the council’s website, a search was done for ‘equality’. Sometimes that pointed to a page about the council’s broad approach to equality and diversity issues. Occasionally, it was necessary to carry out a more refined search for specific council documents relating to equality issues.

3.  In many cases, there were a number of documents available that related to equality and diversity. Wherever possible, the most up to date report or strategy on equality and diversity issues was reviewed. Most often these were ‘mainstreaming equality’ reports relating to the period 2017 to 2021.

4.  Based on either a broad overview of protected characteristics listed on an equality homepage and/or a more detailed report on equality and diversity, it was possible to note whether there was any consistency in the way that councils described the protected characteristic of ‘sex’.

5. Seven* of the 32 local authorities consistently list ‘sex’ as the protected characteristic in the documents reviewed. The remainder list ‘sex’, ‘gender’ and other variations as the protected characteristic in the documents reviewed.

6.  Full details of the review can be found here.

*These were: Edinburgh, Dundee, East Ayrshire, Glasgow, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire.

Summary of findings

Local authorityDescription of protected characteristic (‘sex’)
AberdeenSex; Gender
AberdeenshireSex; Sex (gender); Gender
AngusSex; Gender
Argyll and ButeSex; Gender
ClackmannanshireSex; Gender
Comhairle nan Eilean SiarGender
Dumfries and GallowaySex/gender; Gender; Sex (gender); Gender (sex)
East AyrshireSex
East DunbartonshireSex; Gender
East LothianSex (formerly known as gender); Sex (gender)
East RenfrewshireSex; Sex and sexual orientation
FalkirkSex; Sex (gender); Gender
FifeSex; Gender
HighlandSex; Gender
InverclydeSex; Gender
MidlothianSex; Gender; Sex (formerly/previously known as gender)
MoraySex; Gender
North AyrshireSex; Gender
North LanarkshireSex; Gender and transgender identity
Perth and KinrossSex
Scottish BordersSex; Gender; Gender (sex)
ShetlandSex; Gender
South AyrshireSex; Gender
South LanarkshireGender (sex)
StirlingSex; Gender
West DunbartonshireSex; Gender
West LothianSex (gender); Gender; Gender (woman)