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City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book

City of Berkeley Bans Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ and ‘Manpower’ From Code Book

Chuck Ross

Society,

We explain why. 

One of California’s most liberal cities voted Tuesday to revamp its city code book by replacing terms like “manhole” and “manpower” with gender-neutral terms.

The Berkeley City Council voted to replace around three dozen terms found in the municipal code. Terms like “policeman,” “policewoman,” “chairwoman,” and “chairman” will be changed, as will “he,” “she,” “him,” and “her.”

Rigel Robinson, the Democratic city council member who wrote the ordinance, said the change is necessary because a “male-centric” city code is “inaccurate and not reflective of our reality.”

“Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that,” Robinson told CNN.

The measure passed without debate Tuesday night. It will cost the city $600 to implement the ordinance.

“Ombudsman” will become “ombuds,” while “manhole” will be replaced in the code book with “maintenance hole.”

“Human effort” will take the place of “manpower.”

Cities and companies across the U.S., as well as the U.S. military, have in recent years adopted gender-neutral language amid a larger debate about transgender rights. The Canadian government in March 2018 also ordered government agencies to stop using gendered terms like “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “mother.”

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