Phase Two

Assessing Different Reform Frameworks

The second phase of our research will explore the implications of the four or five different reform frameworks developed in phase one.   At this point, our research will divide into four separate strands.

Implications for sex/gender-specific provision

The first strand will consider what different legal reform frameworks mean for sex/gender-differentiated public and social provision.  This topic has received considerable attention in the media recently and tapped into strong feelings and opinions about what role law should play in regulating this field.  The Future of Legal Gender project will focus on three specific areas of sex/gender-differentiated public and social provision, namely: schools; shelters and refuges; and women’s organisations which limit membership and/or services to women.

We will be carrying out interviews with, amongst others, education equality experts/representatives from relevant education associations, members of grassroots women’s organisations and from protective accommodation, such as shelters and refuges.

Implications for advancing equality

The second strand will examine the implications of reforming or abolishing legal gender status for advancing gender equality  more generally. It will explore the effects of different approaches to reforming legal status for tackling gender inequality and discrimination.  It will also assess the implications of different gender reform options for other inequalities, including ethnicity, religion, disability, sexuality and class.

We will be carrying out interviews with, among others, equality policy-makers, NGOs and activists, unions, care organisations and experts in gender-based violence.

Implications for the wider public

The third strand will consider what legal gender status means for the general public, and whether it matters to individuals in their everyday lives.  It will also examine attitudes to legal reform options among different communities.

We will be carrying out an on-line survey, to enable a large-scale picture of the issues across different groups to emerge.  After that, we will invite a selection of survey respondents to audio/visually represent their experiences of gender, and its regulation, in different settings, and to reflect on their experiences through interviews.  Participants will include those with and without experiences of gender misrecognition and/or discomfort.

Statutory and administrative implications

This fourth strand will address the technical challenges of reforming legal gender across England and Wales. It will focus on the statutory drafting process, and the administrative implications of reforming legal gender. We will carry out interviews with, among others, parliamentary drafts people, technical experts in specific areas of law and NGO specialists.

Read about Phase Three of the project here.

Return to the overview of our project here.

Currently in Britain, we are all assigned a legal gender at birth. But do we still need to have a legal gender status? What would be the social, political and cultural implications of abolishing legal gender status, or reforming legal gender status in other ways?