Gender: The new ESOMAR Demographic Best Practice Recommendations for multi-country work
Up until the last few decades, if someone were asked about their gender, they would have been expected to answer either “male” or “female”. But we are now living in a world where
the concept of gender is increasingly dynamic. For instance, several countries now offer a gender-neutral option for their passports. Besides ‘F’ for females and ‘M’ for males, citizens can choose ‘X’ for another unspecified gender identity.
ESOMAR’s new recommendation, founded on evidence-based best practice, is designed to improve quality standards and provide research participants with an optional answer that they feel is relevant. Being more considerate of participants leads to more accurate information and less participant drop-out, which will help researchers and clients everywhere to improve research standards. ESOMAR will update its recommendation regularly, noting that this area is seeing dynamic change.
Acceptance of asking about gender in a non-binary way varies significantly between different age groups and from country to country. Currently, the number of research participants who claim to be in the non-binary category is very low. Still, studies show that this seems to be more apparent with Gen Xers in certain regions where higher proportions of younger populations don’t identify as male or female.
ESOMAR has also published a non-exhaustive summary of countries which provide for a third option for sex or gender in official documents and a summary of where a non-binary approach would not be advisable because it is not legal to have a same-sex relationship, noting that researchers are advised to seek local guidance. For more information regarding per country and region, see the Country Info document.
Who's working on it?An introduction to the expert project team
An expert project team from a range of international suppliers has reviewed best practice to describe demographic questions in as globally consistent a way as possible to develop a best practice recommendation for key geographies worldwide. The proposal has been validated by ESOMAR’s Professional Standards Committee.
The recommendation was sent to a Client Sounding Board from global companies such as Amazon, the BBC, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Diageo, Etisalat, Google, Microsoft, Mondalez China, Nissan, P&G and Unilever for comment. With the Board’s help, we have fine-tuned the proposal to speed up adoption, and some clients will be applying or trialling the recommendation in their international work.
The team is chaired by Judith Passingham, chair of ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee and Jon Puleston of Kantar, a member of the Standards Committee.
Next up, the team will tackle the working status questions with income and education level measures also on the list.
The Project Team
Judith Passingham, Chair of ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee
Jon Puleston, Kantar, Member of ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee
The Project Team Members
Otto Hellwig, Bilendi
Tre Rials, CINT (previously Lucid)
Katy Mallios, CINT (previously Lucid)
Sonali Kaushal, CINT
Jimmy Snyder, CINT
Nancy Brigham, Dynata
Pete Cape, Dynata
Ankita Sethi, Gartner
Sandy Casey, Innovate MR
Cecile Carre, Ipsos
Leah McTiernan, Ipsos
Sara Wilkinson, Ipsos
Eva Wittmann, Ipsos
Trixie Cartwright, Ipsos
Chris Stevens, Kantar
Deborah Fox, Kantar
Joan Garriga, Netquest
Salvador Masdeu, Netquest
Jennifer Honegger, Netquest
Kay Ricci, Nielsen
Marie Hense, Toluna
Mathilde Lelievre, Toluna
Susan Vidler, Toluna
Kathy Joe, ESOMAR
Jules van Vlokhoven, ESOMAR
The Client Sounding Board
Richa Bhalotia, Amazon
Niharika Roopsingh, Amazon
Kevin Cowan, BBC
Begonia Fiafan, Coca-Cola Latam
Nicola Dean, Colgate Palmolive
Aileen Cabelly, Colgate Palmolive
Rachael Popoola, Diageo
Muhamad Masood Ali Khan, Etisalat
Mario Callegaro, Google
Barry Jennings, Microsoft
Amy Lee, previously Mondalez
Naoki Takahashi, Nissan Japan/Global
Vinay Ahuja, P&G Europe Analytics and Insights
Fenny Leautier, Philips
Manish Makhijani, previously Unilever
If you work in a client company and would like to participate in this Sounding Board, please contact email@example.com.