The British Royal Navy is to stop using terms like “seaman” and “manpower” as part of an effort to fight institutional sexism, according to The Sun.
First Sea Lord Tony Radakin ordered the Navy to change the use of certain terminologies allegedly so that female recruits do not feel excluded.
Reportedly, sources within the Royal Navy say that there is now acceptance across the force that certain words and terms are no longer considered politically appropriate and that leaders want to abandon “gendered terms” where possible.
A source in the Navy told The Sun that, “the vast majority of people in the Navy accept that some terms are problematic or no longer appropriate. Leadership are keen to ensure that, where practicable, gendered terms aren’t used.”
In stark contrast, a senior official from within the Navy slammed the proposed moves, saying that, “this is a pathetic, woke distraction from keeping Britain safe. The only reason to change the labels is if it is a barrier to recruiting women, but recruitment has never been stronger.”
Seamen and able seamen are the lowest ranks in the Royal Navy’s warfare division, and possible alternatives reportedly being considered include “seafarer” and “mariner.”
The senior official said that, “the problem is that sea-person sounds a bit rubbish. There’s a lot of history attached to the seaman rank and we know there will be resistance.”
Britain follows on the heels of the Canadian Navy, which is also said to be dropping the word seaman because of its “double entendre.”
Compared to other branches of the British forces, the Navy has reportedly struggled in recent years to bring more women aboard. However, in 2012, Sarah West became the first female capital in the Navy’s 500-year history to run a major warship.
In 2014, she told The Mirror in an interview that, “I’m really proud to be the first woman but I'm not reinventing the wheel. Lots of women in the services have challenging roles. It's just that I happen to be newsworthy at the moment. There are drawbacks though. Years at sea probably explains why I'm single. But every person in the military makes sacrifices.”
Similarly, in 2017, the UK Army was told to avoid gender-specific words, such as “mankind,” “sportsmanship” and “forefathers” while on base in order to avoid offending women and people from the LGBT community.
One soldier commented that, “it’s the daftest thing ever. We’re building leaders, not politically correct droids.”
Another military source said at the time that, “we should be spending more time on tactics than worrying about the niceties of modern language.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence issued a statement at the time defining the language-policing measures, saying that, “we are promoting a modern, inclusive, working environment to ensure individuals are recognized and feel valued.”