Berkeley, California Has Banned The Use Of Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’ And ‘Manpower’ From City Code
In a sign of the times we now live in, this week the Berkeley, California City Council officially banned the use of gendered words like “manhole” and “manpower” in the city’s municipal code.
The changes, passed unanimously in a vote held on Tuesday, will take all gendered language in the Berkeley municipal code and replace it with neutral terms.
Examples of the terms that will be changed include…
• “manpower” being changed to “human effort” or “workforce”
• “manhole” being replaced with “maintenance hole”
• “pregnant women” will now be referred to as “pregnant employees”
• “sorority” and “fraternity” will now be “collegiate Greek system residence”
23-year-old Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson, a 2018 graduate of UC-Berkeley and the youngest city council member in the town’s history, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Gender-neutral language creates a lot of room to acknowledge that it’s not just men running the country.”
Critics have suggested the council should spend time on other things, Robinson said, but he pointed to the other items he considered important on Tuesday’s agenda, which included an ordinance to make Berkeley the first city in the country to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.
“We are capable of doing more than one thing at a time,” Robinson said. “We’re not just looking at symbolic things.”
The measure follows a move in February that allowed city employees to opt for preferred pronouns on their name badges.
As of now, there is no target date for when the changes must be made to the more than two dozen terms listed below.