DVLA in sexism row over driving licences

DVLA in sexism row over driving licences
DVLA in sexism row over driving licences

Two female scientists accused the DVLA of sexism for using 'Miss' or 'Mrs' on their driving licences when men's don't need a title.

Ashley Kent, 35, said she requested to have no title when she registered for a new licence, but when it arrived it said 'Mrs'.

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Her colleague, Elin Roberts, also encountered the same issue. In a tweet conversation with the DVLA, she asked why she had to have the title, and was initially told it couldn't be removed.

She wrote: "Just received my new licence and it is wrong. I asked for no title on but it has come back with one on it. Can this be changed?"

The DVLA replied: "Hi, the purpose of the title is to allow the system to determine the male or female format of the driver number. I'm afraid it can't be removed."

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Elin said: "I think it is unfair to be labelled by a title. I am not a Miss [or] a Mrs and I don't like Ms. I would prefer to have no title, which is why I chose that option.

"They claim that they need to have my marital status to determine if I am male or female.

"My argument would be that if I were a professor or doctor, they wouldn't know if I were either.

"Why do they even need to know my gender? It doesn't affect my ability to drive. It is something that is, in my opinion, irrelevant."

And Ms Kent said: "I would really hope that people wouldn't discriminate against me because my title is shown on my licence," she said. "I would hope they'd treat me the same whether I am a married or unmarried man or woman.

"I can understand that there is a case for businesses or organisations knowing if they are complying with equality regulations or not but the fact is that the DVLA don't require this information for a man, leads me to question why they need it for a woman."

However, after the Twitter conversation, the DVLA later said they could provide a new licence without the title.

According to the Evening Standard, a spokesperson said: "We recognise the rights of individuals to be identified as they choose, including the use of the titles that do not indicate marital status such as Ms or not displaying any title on the licence.

"I will forward this onto colleagues to look into the cases and arrange for the title to be changed or removed."

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