How to Neutralize The Language in Your Code of Ordinances
Gender-neutral language includes all individuals and collectives, avoids discriminatory words, promotes social change, and contributes to achieving gender equality.
As local governments work to create more inclusive environments, one area that may be behind is your code of ordinances. Depending on when your administration wrote specific codes, some could include gendered language. Examples of gendered language include pronouns and words like policeman, policewoman, policemen, workman, fireman, man, woman, salesmen, and bondsmen. Removing this language is essential so that your code does not reinforce outdated stereotypes.
If you notice language like this in your Municipal Code, CivicPlus® can identify and resolve any gendered language. Depending on the last time you supplemented your code, this process will look different from municipality to municipality. After this, we will recommend changes to neutralize your code.
The words above most likely appear in your code somewhere. Fortunately, replacing them is not only easy with our Codification service but also reflects a commitment by your community to the inclusivity of all individuals and collectives. Gender-neutral language avoids discriminatory words, promotes social change, and contributes to achieving gender equality.
Here is an example from the City of Miami:
In their building code, the phrase “painted in a workmanlike fashion appeared.” Workmanlike is a gendered word, so our team recommended the phrase “painted in a skillful fashion.” This language removes any mention of gender while still conveying the same message. Other examples include changing pronouns to the neutral word they.
Once you have stated these recommendations, you must pass an ordinance authorizing CivicPlus to make these changes. We will then provide your municipality with a supplement that incorporates the changes.
Gender neutralization is a crucial step to take to improve inclusion in your community.