The Berkeley City Council in California, US, voted to remove gendered pronouns from its municipal code, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. The vote followed a city clerk review that found that the municipal code primarily contained masculine pronouns.
“Having a male-centric municipal code is inaccurate and not reflective of our reality,” council member Rigel Robinson told the daily via email. “There’s power in language. This is a small move, but it matters.” The city council estimated that it would cost only $600 (Rs 41,350) to implement the change.
According to Foli Alpert, an assistant to Robinson, the change in the code requires a second reading at the council for the proposal to be official, followed by a 30-day waiting period. However, the city council approved the change unanimously on Tuesday.
If the code is finalised, the pronouns “he” and “she” would be swapped for “they” and “them”. Professions such as firemen and firewomen would be called firefighters, and brothers and sisters will instead be siblings. In some cases, individuals will be referred to by their title instead of their pronoun, such as “the candidate”. Manholes will instead be called maintenance holes, The New York Times reported.
The law would apply to traffic, health and safety regulations, garbage collection, environmental rules and construction permits, the daily reported.
“Your gender has no relevance in whether you can perform work and receive services,” council member Lori Droste said. “Women and non-binary folks are just as entitled to accurate representation.”