The Census and Feminism: How Census 2021 Data Benefits Feminist Analysis and Activism

Date Posted: Friday 11th August 2023

A joint report by the Women's Budget Group and the Global Institute for Women's Leadership

Census 2021Feminist Data Analysisgender data gap

Gender inequality remains a persistent problem in the UK, affecting multiple dimensions of women’s and men’s lives. Despite this, sex and gendered differences often go unaddressed in policymaking. Data is vital to uncovering inequality patterns and establishing an evidence base for change. The Women’s Budget Group along with many others has and will advocate for the best possible data to be collected and made available on sex and gender identity / reassignment.

The release of Census 2021 data gives us a once-in-a-decade opportunity to do so and dive into population data, combine statistics with lived experience, and bring raw data to life. On this occasion, we joined forces with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London to deliver a full-day event bringing together feminist researchers and women’s grassroots organisations to discuss and analyse the 2021 England and Wales Census Data.

This report presents our collaborative efforts to highlight the significance of census data in feminist analysis and activism with a day of knowledge sharing between those with rich, local expertise and those with quantitative data analysis skills. It outlines several of the intersectional analyses made possible by census data and emphasises its relevance to feminist organisers in addressing various topics such as care work, employment, health, housing, and education.

The event fostered impactful discussions and emboldened delegates to present their findings to decision-makers, highlighting the significance of data literacy and knowledge exchange among feminist circles. Notably, the workshops showcased the benefits of a collaborative approach to feminist research, blending real-life experiences with numerical data to enrich statistical insights and support evidence-based advocacy at both local and broader levels.

Based on the day’s findings and attendees’ feedback, the report offers recommendations for improving data analysis tools to make them more accessible, help bridge existing data gaps and provide a more comprehensive understanding of women’s lived realities across England and Wales.


Read and download the full report here.