Campaign for Gender Equality on UK Drivers Licences

Imagine if, as a woman, and only as a woman, your name on Facebook was prefixed by 'Miss' or 'Mrs' as standard. Weird? Offensive? Well this is exactly how the DVLA represents female drivers on UK Drivers Licences.

While licences for men start with their first name, all women have their first name prefixed with a marital status title such as 'Miss', 'Mrs' or 'Ms'. These options are selected at application stage via online or paper forms, but whereby men selecting 'Mr' do not have this appear, women do.

Please join us and sign this petition to call for the DVLA to make a small change for equal gender representation on ALL persons UK Drivers Licences.

YOU CAN NOW JOIN US ON THE OFFICIAL PETITION TO UK GOVERNMENT HERE:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/162317

 

Thank you!

OUR STORY AND CAMPAIGN ...

I recently took a two-month career break from a busy city PR job to travel with my friend Lizzie along the West Coast of Canada and the United States. We enjoyed the fact that most Americans we met still found our 'Britishness' very twee and quaint, and loved our accent, but one thing they were particularly taken by was that on our driving licence before our first name it said 'miss'. Servers and bar tenders would love handing back the card saying 'Why thank you 'Miss' Stacey!', but it wasn't until recounting this to other travelling Brits that we found out that men simply have their name (no 'Mr') and women have either 'Miss' or 'Mrs' as standard.

Confused, and wondering whether this was a standard or just the small pool of Brits we'd asked, I tweeted the DVLA to ask "why do women have miss / mrs on their driving licence and men just have their name?"

Their response was:

"Hi Stacey, this allows our system to determine the male or female format of a driver number when one is generated for a driver."

Their reply confirmed this is a standard identification for women only, using marital status. So I asked the following in a reply:

"So why not 'm' and 'f' for what a person identifies instead of highlighting marital status just for women?"

Their final response from the social media team was:

"Hi Stacey, the title option is not to capture the marital status of an applicant, only to differentiate between records."

But why only for women?!

There's also a timely reason I'm keen to publicly raise this issue. I'm sure raising this six months to a year ago there would be a response about the huge cost in changing the design of the licences across the board, or even just for new issues. However, since Brexit has been confirmed, the DVLA will be required to change new licences issued to remove the European Union flag that appears at the top. My research found a compliance FOI request from 2010 by former Liberal Democrat candidate Zoe O'Connell, but I think it is time to raise the issue again (link below).

As a British National, your driving licence is one of only two recognised forms of photo ID along with your passport. It is designed to be credit card sized, and in robust, thick plastic to be carried on your person at all times (unlike a paper passport). I love our country, and believe that in 2016 persons should be allowed to have their main, day-to-day ID display a fair indicator of the gender they identify with, rather than singling out women with a relationship status. If they have to change the design anyway, why not simply switch to a 'm' and 'f' approach, and remove the 'mr', 'miss', 'mrs' etc section from application forms - as even if a man selects 'mr' it won't appear on the final licence anyway.

So, lets all join together in this camapign for fair, equal gender identification on UK Driving Licences!

Thank you for your support :)

FOI request FOIR2039 - https://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/2010/08/dvla-foi-request-driving-licence-titles/

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