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0 votes
As part of our local council policy committee, I proposed we changed ‘chairman’ to ‘chair’ as we have a female mayor and it’s the 21st century. I was told by another councillor that this cannot be done, but wasn’t shown why. Is there some enshrined ancient law that stops us being reflective of modern society?
closed with the note: The question was answered comprehensively
by (160 points)
closed by

3 Answers

+2 votes
There is nothing stopping a council doing so providing it is the will of the council expressed by democratic means.
One has to question why you find it unacceptable to apply the term chairman to a woman?

You make a couple of assumptions in that such a change is " reflective of modern society". Is it?
The relentless de-gendering of language has never been tested as being anything other than the aim of what has yet to be proven as more than the will of anything other than a politically correct promoting minority  un-challenged by the vast majority of the population to whom it is neither offensive nor actually necessary or important.
by (26.5k points)
Thank you for your reply, much appreciated.

A fascinating response that you suggest the 50% of women on the planet are a minority. I am not suggesting we remove the gender of the word ‘chairman’ in the OED, just that as a chairman relates to a male chair, there should be an option to either create opportunity for those who do not relate to their gender, or those who are female, to be referred to as chair of a meeting. Just like the thousands of businesses, public bodies and voluntary organisations do.

I do not know if you are still in full time employment, or routinely support multi person meetings or groups of diverse age groups - but it does matter. It’s great that you perceive a large percentage don’t mind or take offence (I’m not suggesting they should) but if 1 person out of a 100 does, we have failed. Unless you’re dismissing the minority who would take offence as irrelevant, for the sake of not referring to a female as man by the almost universally accepted ‘chair’.
Hi it would be respectful to this site not to turn it into some sub division of twitter to further personal aims. The minority I spoke of were not as you interpret, women, but the minority who pursue their interpretation of what doctrine the population should and must follow whether they consent or not.
The answer to your question was given quite clearly in that in the official address of a chair, chairman, chairwoman, chairperson, chair thingy or even god is the democratic choice of the council.
Thank you. I see nothing in my replies to you that have been anything but respectful.
On turning this into a Twitter feed, I note that you could have stopped at the very clear and helpful answer, but you decided to write a long paragraph talking about relentless de-gendering and a PC minority; as Twitter-esque as it gets.

However, all 3 answers from you, Jann and Dave have been really useful - thank you all - and demonstrates the diversity of thought that I imagine most local and parish councils consist of.
+1 vote
I am a female 'chairman'. I am addressed as the Chair. Nothing to do with law, being modern or politically correct. It just seems to have naturally happened. I admit I would find it rather strange to be addressed as the Chairman. And the title Chairwomen doesn't seem to be very popular.
by (2.8k points)
Jann, thank you for your reply.
0 votes
There's no ancient law and I'm aware of several councils that allow the postholder to decide how she wishes to be known/addressed.
by (52.9k points)
Many thanks Dave

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