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States are asked to adopt gender-neutral term ‘chair’

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THE word ‘chairman’ should be replaced in all official States documents by the gender-neutral term ‘chair’, the Privileges and Procedures Committee has proposed.

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The committee, which is chaired by Deputy Russell Labey, and has responsibility for overseeing States Assembly procedure and the code of conduct for States Members, lodged the proposition this week, with a debate date of 10 September. The proposed amendment to the States’ standing orders, a set of rules that govern the way in which the States Assembly conducts its business, arose from some ‘small but significant quick wins relating to frequently used terminology’ which were identified by Scrutiny’s Chairmen’s Committee, according to PPC.

However, the report accompanying the proposition made it clear that the intended change of terminology should apply only to ‘formal Assembly documents’.

‘In practice, the formal designation of the term “chair” is not intended to restrict a post-holder from informally using a variation of that title,’ the report stated.

‘As happens presently, he or she may, for example, choose to use chairman, chairwoman, chairperson or other variations in correspondence or at meetings.

‘Notwithstanding this flexibility, however, for the purposes of formal Assembly documents, such as statements and questions and formal exchanges in the Chamber itself, all references would be to “chair(s)”.’

The amendment comes in the same week as a report published by the States Assembly Diversity Forum, which made 22 recommendations on the topic of gender.

One of these recommendations was to make ‘changes to Standing Orders to make them gender neutral’.

Sam Le

By Sam Le
Journalist

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