Washington state’s governor signed into law on Monday the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary, replacing terms such as “fisherman” and “freshman” with “fisher” and “first-year student.”
Lawmakers have passed a series of bills since 2007 to root out gender bias from Washington statutes, though a 1983 state mandate required that all laws be written in gender-neutral terms unless a specification of gender was intended.
“This was a much larger effort than I had envisioned. Mankind means man and woman,” said Democratic state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle.
The new gender-neutral references, for example, include “journey-level plumber” instead of “journeyman plumber,” “handwriting” in place of “penmanship,” and “signal operator” for “signalman.”
“There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,” Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.
Several words, however, aren’t easy to replace, said Kyle Thiessen, the state’s code reviser, who heads up the 40-staff Washington Code Reviser’s Office agency.
Read more: torontosun.com