What Are Gender Survey Questions?

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Gender survey questions are questionnaires that are given to respondents in order to determine their gender. A researcher will be able to examine how gender influences the choices that respondents make by analyzing survey results and using gender as a parameter. This will allow him to derive a pattern. Gender survey questions are utilized in many different forms of research, including commercial and social science research. Gender survey questions are one of the many different sorts of survey questions that are frequently asked in surveys.

Previously, only male and female answers were available in such queries; now, with so many regulations in place and individuals openly accepting their genders, there are many more possibilities available. Gender survey questions are delicate in nature, but they may help researchers evaluate their data in their surveys more precisely. With the increasing importance of gender equality, it is critical to understand how to design these questions such that they do not insult any responses while simultaneously providing a sense of openness to all gender groups.

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Why Do More Than Two Gender Options Need To Be Included In A Questionnaire?

Today’s social scientific studies, public concerns with gender discrimination, growing consciousness in gender equality, and movements throughout the world demonstrate that providing two alternatives or classifying individuals into two groups is outmoded and ethically incorrect. Furthermore, given the goal of the survey, the analyses will be far more accurate if the demographic data is separated into more than two groups.

For example, a cosmetic firm may wish to run a survey to get feedback on one of their products in order to advertise it more effectively to a certain audience. A male’s input will differ from that of a female. Furthermore, other groups, such as transgender people, may have differing opinions about the product and will be a significant target demographic for the cosmetic business. As a result, a survey with multiple-choice gender questions will provide the organization with much more precise data and make it simpler to segment their audience and carry out relevant marketing tactics based on the gender of the respondents.

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Transgender Is A Significant Group

There has been a surge in the number of transgender people in recent years, and they now make up a considerable section of the population. According to 2016 research done in the United States, 0.6 percent of all adults, or around 1.4 million people, identify as transgender. So, on average, if a poll is distributed to 500 people, there will be at least three transgender people among them. Furthermore, certain states in the United States have a higher density of transgender people than 0.6 percent.

Furthermore, it has been established that being transgender is not a feature acquired as an adult, but rather a strongly held identity that begins as a child. As a result, addressing transgender in gender survey questions is critical for obtaining correct demographic information without offending respondents and demonstrating non-discrimination.

Furthermore, new gender categories are developing, and as a result, many survey designers are attempting to incorporate these into their surveys. With so many possibilities these days, researchers are finding it challenging to comprehend the necessity to collect meaningful data while also balancing it with an adequate amount of gender choices. However, while asking the question, a researcher must be careful not to upset the responder and be respectful as well. 

The following is an example of the number of options available in a gender choice question:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Boy
  • Girl
  • Tomboy
  • Young man
  • Young woman
  • Trans-girl
  • Trans-boy
  • Agender (no gender identity)
  • Androgynous (not one specific sex)
  • Gender fluid (different genders at different times)
  • Bigender (two gender identities)
  • Demi girl (partly girl)
  • Demiboy (partly boy)
  • Non-binary (not male or female)
  • Genderqueer (non-traditional gender distinction)
  • Trigender (shifts in three genders)
  • Intersex (physical, hormonal or genetic features of male and female)
  • Not Sure
  • Rather not say
  • Other (please specify)

Given the huge list of recognized genders in today’s society, it’s tough to know which of them must be included and which are not. Although the inclusion of all alternatives is essential, it is guaranteed that we cannot utilize the complete list since surveys cannot be boring or extensive and should not take the responder long.

Furthermore, we are required by law to gather just the information that is required. With the implementation of data collection compliances (GDPR), there will be stricter restrictions in place to manage personal sensitive information. To understand when, how, and why to incorporate gender questions in a questionnaire, we must first ask ourselves the following questions before creating a survey.

  • Is it necessary to pose the question at all?
  • Is it appropriate to inquire about sex, gender, or sexual orientation?
  • How should I phrase my inquiry?
  • Is there any business benefit in asking the question?

Understanding the distinction between Sex, Gender, and Sexual Orientation is a major source of difficulty for many people. A researcher must ensure that each of the three questions is addressed independently. The following is the distinction between these three points:

Sex – This refers to a person’s physical feature. When answering these questions, utilize alternatives such as Male, Female, and Intersex.

Gender – This is what a person thinks he is psychologically, regardless of what sex he was given at birth.

Sexual orientation – This refers to emotional, physical, and sexual attraction to other individuals and does not fall under the topic of gender questions but is related to it. When discussing sexual orientation, terminology such as gay/lesbian, bisexual/pansexual, and heterosexual might be used. Please keep in mind that homosexuality is frowned upon by the majority of people.

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Best Practices For Asking Gender Questions In Questionnaire

A question can be phrased in a variety of ways to meet the demands of the situation. There are several ways that may be taken when asking gender identification questions in a survey.

First Approach

If we need to ask a gender query, the following phrases can be utilized.

  • What gender are you?
    • Male
    • Female
    • Others (Please specify)
    • Rather not say
  • Are you a transgender person?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Other (Please specify)
    • Rather not say
  • What was your ascribed gender status at birth if you are transgender?
    • Male
    • Female
    • Not applicable
    • Others (Please be specific)
    • Rather not say

Using this method allows a researcher to incorporate transgender categories while simultaneously emphasizing the necessity of mentioning any other gender identification. Furthermore, a multi-step technique is significantly faster for a response to complete than a single step strategy. Furthermore, including ‘rather not say’ provides the responder the impression that this is a voluntary question rather than a forced one, which might result in a high response rate for the survey.

Second Approach

An open-ended inquiry can be posed if necessary.

Gender? _____________

We may need to do text analysis for such a question, but it is all-inclusive and allows the respondent to pick their own identity.

Aside from the methodology decision, there are a few things that a researcher should keep in mind while incorporating gender survey questions in a questionnaire. The following elements will assist us in creating an effective survey design.

  • Make certain that we can explain why we are asking the inquiry.
  • Consider our respondent’s privacy and comfort before anything else.
  • Keep data security in mind.
  • Personal data should be kept anonymous.
  • Include open-ended questions to allow them adequate leeway to express who they are.
  • All gender questions are completely optional.

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Importance Of Gender Survey Questions In A Questionnaire

A good survey design means that it will achieve two goals: accuracy and inclusion. A questionnaire must be developed in such a way that it can gather reliable data while also being inclusive, employing best practices for survey design. The goal of the questionnaire should be to make the responder feel as though their opinion is important and would be treated equally with any other respondent, without any prejudices.

The former way of providing only two alternatives for gender issues, namely male and female, implies that everyone falls into only these two categories, which contradicts the two things listed above. It implies prejudice towards transgender and gender nonconforming respondents, and the findings obtained are frequently inaccurate because the respondent was not offered a choice. However, for gender data, a five-category question or a multi-step technique that allows the respondent to pick from multiple categories while simultaneously allowing the respondent to provide an open-ended response is preferable. This method gives the researcher considerably more precise data while also making the responder feel appreciated and respected.  Furthermore, it will raise the questionnaire’s response rate since the responder will not feel compelled to answer some questions, especially if they are private in nature.

It doesn’t hurt to get to know your respondents a bit better while conducting a survey, such as their age, gender, and so on. Gender-specific questions have a significant influence on the outcomes. It will allow you to obtain data and investigate behavioral patterns based on gender, as well as make informed judgments for the aim of your research. Gender questions allow you to confirm that your sample is representative or to investigate the gender impacts in your research. Thus, if the age-old ways of asking gender questions with two answers are not changed, you will continue to receive statistical data that is inaccurate, will miss crucial variances in replies depending on gender, and will impede comprehension of the research.

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Benefits Of Gender Survey Questions

  • Those that are irrelevant to our survey should be eliminated

Knowing the gender identification of our respondents, especially early on, might be highly important depending on the sort of survey you’re doing and the topic of our material.

For example, if we were a maker of female healthcare items, we might include a gender-based demographic question at the beginning of our survey to screen out male respondents and ensure that only female respondents may continue and finish our survey.

  • Improve the targeting and efficacy of our marketing efforts by doing the following

Continuing with the previous example, by excluding irrelevant respondents from our survey, we may improve the targeting and efficacy of your marketing efforts by knowing that the audience that remains is likely to be the most interested in replying and completing our survey.

  • Make our surveys more powerful

Gender issues and the gender question are all intertwined with the larger discussion over inclusiveness. And inclusive surveys are all about being attentive and careful about how we ask questions on gender and other sensitive subjects such as race, religion, household income, and age.

From the language we use to accessibility considerations. When we can better examine our respondents’ experiences from several viewpoints and prioritize inclusivity, it may have a big influence on the impact of our survey, opening the path for deeper and more meaningful data.

  • Make our company look more inclusive and appealing as a place to work

Organizations that can claim to encourage diversity, equality, and fair treatment are believed to have a competitive edge in terms of overall performance, with the collecting and analysis of demographic data being critical to this process.

However, we must still be able to present and ask these questions correctly. If we are successful in doing so, our reputation as an inclusive and appealing place to work will only improve.

Limitations Of Gender Survey Questions

While there are some clear benefits to addressing the gender question, there might also be some negatives. However, if we didn’t formulate our inquiries appropriately in the first place, we’re more likely to encounter them.

  • We run the risk of insulting someone.

As we’ve already stated, if we don’t provide respondents enough alternatives to explain their gender identification, or even the option to skip answering this question entirely, we risk insulting someone. We then incur the danger of their informing others about their experience, which might harm their opinion of our organization.

  • We risk losing out on key survey data and insights

Finally, when we send out our survey, we want as many individuals to fill it out as possible in order to maximize our response rate and the quality of data we have to work with. As a result, if our gender question is badly designed, many people may choose not to participate in our survey.

If this occurred, we might possibly lose key data and insights, which could be especially devastating if we were running a small, niche survey that relied on as many completed replies as possible.

  • Our data may be unrepresentative

Gender-related demographic questions in surveys are now considered biased if they do not capture various gender orientations in a group. And if we don’t address this imbalance within our own survey questions, we may end up with data that isn’t genuinely reflective of the populations we’ve attempted to reach out to.

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Fast Insights
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Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries