The Right Gender Options For Surveys To Include In 2023

The Right Gender Options For Surveys To Include In 2023

When it comes to one’s gender sexuality, survey questions sometimes may look offensive. It can often be challenging to choose the right gender options for surveys. 

Regardless of the reasons, there are uncertain complexities around gender identity and how people identify themselves. Asking about demographics and gender identity, however, can help you narrow your target audience and alter your marketing strategies if necessary.

Let’s take a look at why and when you should touch on this highly sensitive topic and the benefits of asking gender questions to your respondents. 

Why Include Gender Options For Surveys? 

Before you decide to add gender options to your survey, ask yourself the primary motive of the survey. For your survey to be effective and maximize response rates, you must let respondents know how much you value and desire their input. 

Here is when it can be advantageous to provide gender-specific questions and options.

You Can Gather More Valuable Insights. 

The ability to accept worries about inclusivity and think about your respondents’ experiences from multiple perspectives can help you collect more profound and useful data insights. It starts with your choice of language and ends with your understanding of accessibility issues.

You Can Target Your Audience More Specifically. 

Sometimes a survey’s topic, such as beard trimming kits for men, is intended for a particular gender audience, which causes it to be targeted at that group. 

A gender exclusion question at the start of your survey could be helpful in this situation to weed out women and make sure only men continue to fill it out.

You Can Get An Edge Over Competition. 

Through employee surveys, you can encourage diversity, equality, and inclusivity among your peers. Additionally, suppose you can develop more inclusive policies in response to criticism. In that case, it should help you retain more employees and draw in superior talent, giving you a competitive edge in your industry.

RELATED: The A-Z Of Anonymous Surveys

Gender Options For Surveys You Need To Understand 

It is also crucial to be fully familiar with all the essential phrases related to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) so you do not misunderstand someone or worse, insult them. 

The definitions of the essential terms are provided below.


The biological and physiological differences between men and women make us who we are. A person’s sex is decided at birth and treated as a social and legal fact.

Gender Identity 

Gender identity is our deeply held personal perception of gender, which may or may not line up with the sex we were given at birth. It also includes how we see our bodies and display our gender through clothes, speech, and mannerisms.

Sexual Orientation 

A person’s capability for emotional and sexual attraction, intimate and sexual encounters with others of the same gender (homosexual, lesbian, or gay), a different gender (heterosexual), or more than one gender is referred to as their sexual orientation.


Generally, a transgender person is one who has a different gender identity than the one they were given at birth and who wishes to express their gender identity in a different way than their birth gender.

When To Ask Gender-Specific Questions? 

Given their sensitivity, you should now have a better understanding of how and when gender survey questions might be helpful to you. However, you still need to be clear about your own usage of gender survey questions and consider each one individually. 

Companies commonly ask gender-related questions because they are considered “normal” demographic questions instead of questions that support other processes, such as cross-tabulation.

Therefore, organizations like the Centre for Equalities and Inclusion advise waiting before making a judgment regarding their use. This is especially important for employers when they examine whether they need the demographic data they routinely request in employee engagement and staff satisfaction surveys. 

Consider posing the following inquiries to help better understand your personal motivation for employing these questions:

  • Does our survey need data on gender, sex, and/or sexual orientation? 
  • How would we make use of the data we collect? 
  • Would this information be categorized or used in a cross-tabulation? 
  • How could we explain to responders why we want to obtain this information?

Depending on the responses you receive, you should be able to see why you prefer gender-specific questions.

RELATED: The Right Ethnicity Survey Questions

The Right Way To Ask Gender-Specific Questions

Here’s what you need to consider when asking gender-specific questions: 

Be Careful With How You Put The Question. 

As we just mentioned, if you employ the wrong term or your wording is unclear, it’s pretty simple to generate confusion—or worse, offensive. 

Be very careful with your word choice when creating survey questions about gender or sexuality.

Be Inclusive. 

Make gender questions as inclusive as possible to encourage as many individuals as possible to respond. 

It’s always a great idea to give people the option to “opt out” of answering any questions they don’t feel comfortable with. 

Similarly, limiting the options for gender-related queries to “man” or “female” is not inclusive. It may offend someone who doesn’t think either option relates to them. Giving them some non-binary options or even an open text area for those who would instead describe their gender in their own terms makes the system more inclusive.

Include Questions For People Who Have Transitioned. 

It’s critical to keep in mind that each person’s gender identification is unique when discussing gender. 

For instance, it’s feasible that some people who have had a transition won’t want to refer to themselves as trans or transgender. Therefore, it could be more beneficial to add a broader question regarding the history of their gender identity in these circumstances.

Add Clear Options & Definitions, Wherever Necessary

Consider your available answer choices as well. Are you making it easy for individuals to choose? 

For instance, instead of simply writing “female,” you may include a qualifier like “including transgender women.” 

Additionally, giving definitions for specific terminology can be helpful too. For instance, if you chose to add a unique query like “Do you perceive yourself as transgender? So that everyone who reads it can understand what it means, you might want to include a definition of that term.

RELATED: Empathetic Survey Design: The Secret To Garner High Responses

The Takeaway 

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to inquire about someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. As long as they are properly framed and sufficiently comprehensive, they should enhance the value of your survey by increasing response rates and data quality.

Moreover, if you are looking for a platform where you can build surveys that are gender inclusive, take a look at SurveyPoint. The platform allows you to choose from a wide variety of templates and create visually appealing surveys in just a few clicks. 

Ready to Finetune Your survey questions?

Explore our solutions to collect accurate insights, boost ROI, and retain respondents.

No Payment Details Required • Cancel Anytime

Heena Shah – Content Writer at Sambodhi 

Heena Shah
Experience SurveyPoint for Free
No Credit card required
Try our 14 day free trial and get access to our latest features
blog popup form
Experience SurveyPoint for Free
No Credit card required
Try our 14 day free trial and get access to our latest features
blog popup form