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City of Charlottesville, VA Fire Department


Chapter: II - Definition of Terms
Subject: Non-Sexual Language
Code: 1-II-3
Revised: 6-6-96

3.01   PURPOSE

       To  establish  policy  and  guidelines  relative to the use of
       non-sexist  language  in   Fire   Department   correspondence,
       presentations, and publications.

3.02   POLICY

       A.  Fire     Department     correspondence,     presentations,
           publications, etc., shall be written without reference  to
       B.  The  acceptable  alternatives  to the male only pronoun in
           order of preference are:
           1.   Rewording  a sentence to eliminate unnecessary gender
                pronouns whenever feasible.  (Example:  "The  average
                American  drinks  his  coffee black." to "The average
                American drinks black coffee.")
           2.   Recase  the  sentence in a plural to eliminate gender
                pronouns.   (Example:  "Most  Americans  drink  black
           3.   Replace  the  masculine  pronoun  with  "you".  Note:
                This  works  best  in  informal  writing  or  speech.
                (Example:   "If you're an average American, you drink
                black coffee.").
           4.   Use   both   gender  pronouns  in  the  he/she  form,
                alternating  he/she  with  she/he.   (Example:  "Each
                employee  should request the information from his/her
       C.  Women  and  men  should  receive the same treatment in all
           areas.   Physical  descriptions,  sexist  references,  de-
           meaning  stereotypes, and condescending phrases should not
           be used.
           1.   Do not assume maleness when both sexes are involved.
           2.   Do not gratuitously mention family relationships when
                they have no relevance to the subject at hand.
           3.   Use  the  same standard for men and women in deciding
                whether  to  include  specific  mention  of  personal
                appearance or marital and family situations.
           4.   Women should be referred to by their own names rather
                than in terms of their roles as wife, mother, etc.
           5.   Use  first  and  last names, then last names only for
                both sexes instead of last names for men (Smith)  and
                Ms. Smith for women.
       D.  Avoid value judgments based on sex:
           No                           Yes
           A man sized job.             Sizable, large job.
           A manly effort.              Valiant effort.
           The weaker sex.              Women
           Little women, better half.   Wife
       E.  Avoid  attaching  suffixes  or  using  special terms which
           denote sex.  For example:
           No                           Yes
           Policeman, Policewomen       Police Officer
           Newsman, Newswoman           Reporter
           Businessman, Businesswoman   Executive, Manager
           Mailman                      Mail Carrier
           Foreman                      Supervisor
           Fireman                      Fire Fighter
           Airline steward/             Flight Attendant
           Crewman                      Crewmember
       F.  Alternatives for sexist words and phrases:
           Term                         Alternative
           Act like a lady and          Act humanely and think
             think like a man.             clearly.
           Authoress                    Author
           Wives/Husbands               Spouses
           Committeeman, men            Committee member(s)
           Congressman/men              Member(s) of Congress
           Dear Sir (salutation)        Dear Sir or Madam
                                          Dear Executive
           Manmade                      Synthetic, artificial
           Manning                      Staffing
           Manpower                     Labor, Staff, People,
                                          Personnel, Human
       G.  Use  Ms.  to  refer to single and married women unless the
           individual addressed prefers Miss or Mrs.
       H.  Avoid  using  "girl"  or "boy" when referring to employees
           over eighteen (18) years of age.
       I.  Use worker's compensation, not workmen's compensation.


       It  is  the  responsibility  of  all  employees  of  the  Fire
       Department to  correctly  follow  the  prescribed  policy  and
       procedures relative to the use of non-sexist language.

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