5-speed listening (Gender-neutral Language - Level 5)

University staff asked not to say 'mother' and 'father'






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An Australian university department has asked staff to avoid using certain words related to gender. The Gender Institute issued a list of replacements for words like 'mother' and 'father'. This is part of an initiative to encourage more gender-neutral language. The list includes using the term 'gestational parent' instead of 'mother,' and 'non-birthing parent' in place of 'father'. The institute's handbook says the words 'mother' and 'father' exclude non-binary people. These are people who identify as being neither male nor female. They feel unrepresented because of gender words. The institute's guidelines say: "While many students will identify as 'mothers' or 'fathers,' using these terms to describe parenthood excludes those who do not identify as male or female." It added: "This non-gendered language is particularly important in…discussions of childbirth and parenthood." The university said the handbook was, "a guide developed…to assist anyone committed to enhancing inclusiveness and diversity". It said it was not official university policy. Last week, a UK university asked its staff to substitute the word 'chestfeeding' for 'breastfeeding'.

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