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Helston council becomes 'gender neutral'
4:50pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Cornwall
Helston Town Council has taken the lead from up country and officially gone “gender neutral”.
It is at the request of councillor Martine Knight, who spoke at a meeting of the policy, finance and resources committee.
She told members that documents such as standing orders currently referred to “he”, “his”, “him”, “chairman” and “vice chairman”.
Instead she believed the council should use references such as “their”, “them”, “chair” and “vice chair” – and where necessary the term “he/she”.
The committee agreed with Mrs Knight and resolved unanimously that these gender neutral references be used in council documents, with other documents amended when due for review.
The item prompted a further debate about the term “chairman” and how the said post-holder should be addressed directly in a meeting.
It was agreed that the chairman of each committee should be known as “Mr Chair” or “Madame Chair”.
While this trend may have caught on in major cities nationally, it seems however that locally Helston is leading the way.
A quick peek at the minutes from council meetings in Truro and Falmouth shows the term chairman is still very much in existence.
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