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New York approves gender-neutral titles for police and firefighter jobs

Lydia Smith May 3, 2018
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New York state has approved making titles for police and fire jobs more inclusive (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Legislators in New York state have approved a bill that will officially remove the terms “policeman” and “fireman” in state law, in a bid to make the titles more gender-neutral.

The titles will be replaced with “police officer” and “firefighter” to recognise the role of everyone in police and fire departments across the state.

“Women make up an important part of our police force and firehouses, and it’s time New York state laws reflect that,” said New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie.

The measure was approved by the state Senate in April and will now head to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be reviewed.

Proposing the move last year, Democratic Assembly member Jo Anne Simon and Republican Senator Betty Little said in a statement: “This bill modernises the outdated.

“Stamping out gender-specific language will ensure that professions that were once seen as non-traditional for women are more likely to appeal to all people, regardless of gender, and will ensure the broad inclusion of women in every aspect of the police and fire departments.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Boy Scouts of America is changing its name to remove “boy”, to ensure all children are welcome regardless of their gender.

“As we enter a new era for our organisation, it is important that all youth can see themselves in scouting in every way possible,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said in a statement.

The Boy Scouts will become known as Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts of America) from 2019, when the first girls will be admitted to the programme.

Last year, the group’s board of directors voted to open their programme to all children after a transgender boy was accepted into the organisation.

The name of the parent organisation and the programme for younger children – Cub Scouts – will not change.

In March, the Australian airline Qantas announced it had issued guidance to its staff to start using gender-neutral language onboard flights, to create a safe space for passengers and benefit LGBTQ+ employees.

The airline sent workers an information pack about the appropriate use of gendered language, which recommended staff avoid using terms such as mother and father in favour of parent.

It also suggested the terms husband and wife be replaced with partner and spouse.

A spokesperson for the company said that they have a “long and proud history of promoting inclusion among our people, our customers and society.”

“We want Qantas to be an inclusive workplace and we shared some factsheets created by the Diversity Council of Australia with some suggestions on more inclusive language, particularly on gender, age and LGBTI issues.”

Related topics: US

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