California city votes to ban gendered words as 'manhole' becomes 'maintenance hole'

Ryan W. Miller
Legislators in Berkeley, California, voted Tuesday to ban some gender-specific words in its city code and replace them with gender-neutral options.

A California city voted to ban some gender-specific words in its city code and replace them with gender-neutral options.

Berkeley's municipal code will no longer feature words like "manhole" and "manpower," and instead say, "maintenance hole" and "human effort" or "workforce." The measure passed unanimously Tuesday and replaces more than two dozen terms.

Gender-specific references to job titles, like "policeman" and "craftsmen," will also be changed in the code, to "police officer" and "craftspeople" or "artisans."  

"Sorority" and "fraternity" would change to "collegiate Greek system residence." And the use of gendered pronouns, like "he" and "she," would be replaced with specific titles, like "the attorney" or "the candidate."

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Rigel Robinson, the council member who proposed the measure, praised its passage in a tweet Tuesday.

"There is power in language. This is a small move, but it matters," he tweeted.

According to Berkeleyside, the measure will cost the city up to $600 to change its code.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Berekeley bans gendered words as 'manhole' becomes 'maintenance hole'