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Labour Council Bans All Titles that Use the Word ‘Man’

Politically correct councillors in Harlow, Essex, have been mocked for emulating “student union politics” by erasing any reference to gender from official business.

Instead of chairman and vice-chairman, the Labour-run local authority will now use “gender neutral” terms like “chairperson” and “vice-chairperson”.

Councillor Emma Toal, who tabled the motion, told Essex Live: “Language matters and we can’t pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s a small issue but it’s important we take a step forward.”

The ruling will apply to all people working on council property, so even groundsman working outside will be known as “groundspeople”.

The Conservative group in the council opposed the change. However, their amendment to the motion, removing the reference to changing titles, was quashed.

Conservative Councillor Shona Johnson said: “I have no problem with being called chairman, nor does it demean me as a woman. Once this language police starts, where will it stop?”

Councillor Joel Charles labelled the motion “student union politics”, arguing that it distracted from more important issues such as Harlow’s economy.

“Rather than a quick desktop exercise and going through reams of the council constitution, I would like to see solid, concrete steps about how we are going to close the gender pay gap”, he said.

The new wave of gender politics doesn’t stop at titles, however. The council will also be conducting a “gender audit” of staff to search for any gender imbalance in senior roles or any perceived pay gap between men and women.

Miss Toal added: “Something like this is bigger than party politics and it’s important going forward we make this a regular thing.”

Fellow Labour Councillor Jean Clark, seconding the motion, claimed the national pay gap stood at nine per cent for full-time workers.

“It’s estimated this gap will not close until 2069 – it’s a long wait and I don’t think I will be around to see it,” she said.

On gender neutral titles, she added: “It’s highly symbolic and sends a message to women on the staff, the community and in general, especially children.”

Concluding: “There are many things I cannot do anything about but this is one step in a bigger issue.

“When there are 50 per cent women in this chamber and 50 per cent women in Parliament, maybe I will relax a bit.”

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