City of Charlottesville, VA Fire
|Chapter:||II - Definition of Terms|
To establish policy and guidelines relative to the use of non-sexist language in Fire Department correspondence, presentations, and publications.
A. Fire Department correspondence, presentations, publications, etc., shall be written without reference to gender.
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 coffee.").
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 supervisor.").
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:
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:
Policeman, Policewomen Police Officer Newsman, Newswoman Reporter Businessman, Businesswoman Executive, Manager Mailman Mail Carrier Foreman Supervisor Fireman Fire Fighter Airline steward/ Flight Attendant Stewardess Crewman Crewmember
F. Alternatives for sexist words and phrases:
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 Representative(s) Dear Sir (salutation) Dear Sir or Madam Dear Executive Manmade Synthetic, artificial Manning Staffing Manpower Labor, Staff, People, Personnel, Human Resources
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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