UK army moves to change long-standing terms such as 'rifleman' to be 'gender neutral'

The United Kingdom (UK) Army is now considering replacing titles such as "rifleman" and "guardsman" with "gender-neutral" names. The terms were considered to be too masculine for the army.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, who is the chief of the general staff, was allegedly told by some female personnel that the terms made them feel alienated by the masculine titles.

In an episode of the "Centre for Army Leadership" podcast, Sanders said, "I hear from a lot of women that these small things are the things that exclude - it’s like saying blokes, or guys - it’s coded masculine language." 

However, others pushed back against the measure. 

A female corporal, during a gathering of women soldiers, told Sanders, "Don't’ you dare take my rank of Rifleman, I'm proud of it." 

The decision on whether or not to change all titles to being gender-neutral is coming soon. Other titles that would go include "seaman" and "midshipman."

A spokesman for the army said, "The army is proud of its heritage and traditions, which have contributed to making it an effective fighting force over its long history."

"Our people give the British Army a unique edge and we value every soldier equally," the spokesman continued. 

Other branches of the British forces have already moved towards "gender-neutral" language previously. 

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has taken this step by removing "airman" and "airwoman" by replacing both terms with "aviator." This, in addition to the RAF promoting the usage of gender-neutral pronouns, are steps the organization has taken to be more "committed to promoting and developing equality, diversity and inclusion within the Service."

Additionally, the Royal Navy in 2020 changed the term "unmanned" to "uncrewed." 

The UK Army website writes, "Every unit in the British Army has a trained D&I advisor who ensures that their unit has an inclusive culture and assists the commanding officer in supporting those who are treated unacceptably."

Image: Title: uk gender neutral


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