'Workforce,' Not 'Manpower': UN Tweets List of 'Gender-Neutral' Word Swaps

Brittany M. Hughes | May 18, 2020
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In the middle of a pandemic and a subsequent economic shutdown that’s devastated businesses and families across the globe, the United Nations wants you to remember what’s really important: using bigoted, “gendered” language.

“What you say matters,” the UN tweeted Monday. “Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you're unsure about someone's gender or are referring to a group.”

The tweet included a list of “gender-neutral” options to a whole host of allegedly “gendered” – and therefore “offensive” words. The list includes swapping “mankind” for the more inclusive “humankind,” switching “congressman” to “legislator,” and exchanging “manpower” for “workforce,” among other equally ridiculous changes.

Ironically, the tweet links back to ""unwomen.org," a very much “gendered” website. 

Also, the link is broken. Which just somehow seems appropriate.

The UN has a long history of focusing on issues like the offensive "power" of gendered language while ignoring human rights atrocities across the globe. On their website focused on "gender-neutral" language, the UN explains that "Using gender-inclusive language means speaking and writing in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, using gender-inclusive language is a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias."