Berkeley Passes Implements Gender Neutral Language in Municipal Codes

Soon, there will be no more manholes in the city of Berkeley, California. There will also be no chairmen, no manpower, no policemen or policewomen.

No, that doesn’t mean a whole city will be without committee leaders and law enforcement. It means that words that imply a gender preference will be removed from the city’s codes and replaced with gender-neutral terms, according to a recently adopted ordinance.

The city voted Tuesday night to replace gendered terms in its municipal codes, like “manhole” and “manpower,” with gender-neutral ones like “maintenance hole” and “human effort.”

The item passed without discussion or comments and was not controversial, said Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson, the bill’s primary author.

“There’s power in language,” Robinson said. “This is a small move, but it matters.”

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