Scotland removes word ‘mother’ from maternity leave policy in effort to replace ‘gendered’ terms with more inclusive language

Stonewall has encouraged ministers to remove gendered language from their policy documents and replacing them with “gender-neutral equivalents.” Freedom of Information requests, made by the broadcaster and journalist Stephen Nolan for his BBC podcast Nolan Investigates, revealed that the charity wrote to the Scottish government last year, encouraging them to adopt more inclusive language.

The Scottish government have already replaced the word mother in one of their passages with “you must be the spouse or partner (including same-sex partner) or the pregnant woman”. The idea behind this move is to allow people who do not identify with gender binaries to be included in the maternity leave policy documents.

Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of the LGBT website Pink News, told The Times that the move towards gender-inclusive terms is “really important”. He said: “The people who are concerned about this are actually a relatively small but vocal minority. Having policy that is inclusive is actually really important to lesbians and gay couples who are starting families. If someone is a trans man who gives birth it is inappropriate to label them as a mother because that is not the way that they would describe themselves.” He added, “Policies should be inclusive of people with differing situations.”

The Scottish government has been part of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme since 2013. Describing the scheme on its website, Stonewall says: “We work with over 900 organisations across the UK. Every one of our Diversity Champions shares our core belief in the power of a workplace that truly welcomes, respects and represents LGBTQ+ employees.” The programme, which was set up in 2001, provides advice to organisations on how they can better promote gender inclusion.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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