DEX Seeks to Better Reflect Gender in Data

31 March 2022

The government’s Data Exchange (DEX) team is refining the way gender information is collected.   

The Department is looking at how DEX gender values can better align with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, 2020 (The Standard).

DEX collects information on gender, not sex. It sees gender as a social and cultural concept.

It states: “Gender identity is about who a person feels themself to be, which may or may not match the sex they were assigned at birth.”

The current DEX list of values for gender includes ‘intersex/ indeterminate’. However, the ABS standard refers to intersex as a variation of sex characteristics and is not included as a value listed for gender.

The Standard suggests the following value options when collecting information on gender:

o Man or male
o Woman or female
o Non-binary
o [I/They] use a different term
o Prefer not to answer or Not stated/ Inadequately described (as an alternative)

The current list of values in DEX includes:
o Male
o Female
o Intersex/ Indeterminate
o Not stated/ Inadequately described

Organisations are offered four options for your consideration in the survey:

1. Option 1A: Change the name of ‘intersex/ indeterminate’ to ‘non-binary’ and add the value ‘[I/They] use a different term’.
This option would result in all current ‘intersex/indeterminate’ clients becoming ‘non-binary’ which is not necessarily correct. It includes the addition of ‘[I/They] use a different term’ which does align closer to The Standard.

2. Option 1B: Change the name of ‘intersex/ indeterminate’ to ‘non-binary’.
This option has the lowest impact on organisations, however, as above, all current ‘intersex/ indeterminate’ clients would become ‘non-binary’ clients which is not necessarily correct. This option does not include the value ‘[I/They] use a different term’.

3. Option 2A: Retire the value ‘intersex/ indeterminate’ and add the values ‘non-binary’ and ‘[I/They] use a different term’.
Retiring the value ‘Intersex/indeterminate’ allows those clients who have previously selected this option to remain identified as ‘intersex/indeterminate’ in the DEX Reports and doesn’t assume they are ‘non-binary’. It includes the addition of ‘[I/They] use a different term’ which aligns closest to The Standard.

4. Option 2B: Retire the value ‘Intersex/ indeterminate’ and add the value ‘non-binary’.
As with Option 2A, retiring the value ‘Intersex/ indeterminate’ allows those clients who have previously selected this option to remain identified as ‘intersex/indeterminate’ in the DEX Reports and doesn’t assume they are ‘Non-binary’. This option does not include the value ‘[I/They] use a different term’.

Can you participate in this short but important survey? Click the link below and complete before 5pm on 1 April.

Begin Survey