Staff the Australian National University (ANU) Canberra have been requested to avoid the use certain words related to gender. ANU's Gender Institute issued a list replacement terms everyday words 'mother' and 'father'. The switch vocabulary is part an initiative to encourage more gender-neutral language. Staff are being asked to use the term 'gestational parent' instead of 'mother,' and 'non-birthing parent' place of 'father'. The institute's gender handbook claims the words 'mother' and 'father' exclude non-binary people. These are people who identify as being neither male nor female. Non-binary people feel unrepresented in society because words that refer to males and females.
The gender handbook explains the suggested nomenclature guidelines. It says: "While many students will identify as 'mothers' or 'fathers,' using these terms alone to describe parenthood excludes those who do not identify gender-binaries." It added: "This non-gendered language is particularly important ...discussions childbirth and parenthood." An ANU spokesperson said the handbook was just a guide. It said: "This document is not an official ANU policy....It is a guide developed expert researchers to assist anyone committed to enhancing inclusiveness and diversity." Last week, a UK university asked its staff to substitute the word 'chestfeeding' 'breastfeeding'.