City bans gendered language like 'manhole,' 'manpower' from municipal codes

BERKELEY, Calif. — The city of Berkeley, California, will no longer use gendered language in its municipal codes and will instead use more gender-neutral language.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Berkeley City Council adopted the ordinance on Tuesday in an effort to be more inclusive.

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"There's power in language," Berkeley City Council member Rigel Robinson, the bill's primary author, said, according to CNN. "This is a small move, but it matters."

The measure passed unanimously and means personal pronouns like “she,” “he,” “her” and “him” will change to “they” and “them," and "manholes" will be referred to as "maintenance holes." "Manpower" has been replaced.

"Policeman" and "policewoman" will become "police officer" or "police officers." Similarly, KTVU reported, a bondsman will be a "bondsperson" and "fireman" and "firewoman" is now a "firefighter."

College life is also impacted. "sorority" and "fraternity" are now "collegiate Greek system residence" when referring to houses.

"Having a male-centric municipal code is inaccurate and not reflective of our reality," Robinson said. "Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that."

More than two dozen terms will be changed.