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

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 authority Description of protected characteristic (‘sex’)
Aberdeen Sex Gender
Aberdeenshire Sex Sex (gender) Gender
Angus Sex Gender
Argyll and Bute Sex Gender
Edinburgh Sex
Clackmannanshire Sex Gender
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Gender
Dumfries and Galloway Sex/gender Gender Sex (gender)

Gender (sex)

Dundee Sex
East Ayrshire Sex
East Dunbartonshire Sex Gender
East Lothian Sex (formerly known as gender) Sex (gender)
East Renfrewshire Sex Sex and sexual orientation
Falkirk Sex Sex (gender) Gender
Fife Sex Gender
Glasgow Sex
Highland Sex Gender
Inverclyde Sex Gender
Midlothian Sex Gender Sex (formerly/previously known as gender)
Moray Sex Gender
North Ayrshire Sex Gender
North Lanarkshire Sex Gender and transgender identity
Orkney Sex
Perth and Kinross Sex
Renfrewshire Sex
Scottish Borders Sex Gender Gender (sex)
Shetland Sex Gender
South Ayrshire Sex Gender
South Lanarkshire Gender (sex)
Stirling Sex Gender
West Dunbartonshire Sex Gender
West Lothian Sex (gender) Gender Gender (woman)

Murray Blackburn Mackenzie

December 2018