Ok throw out the words for women but…do it nicely?

Replacing words like “women” and “mothers” with terms like “birth-givers” and “pregnant people” in research risks dehumanising women and would harm decades of work to improve the visibility of women in medical literature.

That is the conclusion of 10 prominent women’s health researchers from Australia, the US, Europe and Asia who will argue in a paper published next week that replacing words like “breastfeeding” with terms such as “lactating parents” risks “reducing protection of the mother-infant [bond]” and “disembodying and undermining breastfeeding”.

It’s also the conclusion of a hell of a lot of women, but we’re shouted at and threatened if we say so.

The authors acknowledge words are changing to ensure inclusion of those who give birth but do not identify as women, but they argue against removing references to the sex of mothers in research and medical information.

No, the words aren’t changing; “activists” are trying to force us to use different words.

Governments and institutions are grappling with how to approach gender terminology. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald can reveal that a Federal Health Department guide for pregnant and breastfeeding women regarding COVID-19 vaccination and its impact on pregnant women was edited last year to remove the term “women”, introducing errors into the scientific accuracy of the material in the process.

Stop grappling. Stop erasing women. We matter, so stop obeying the orders from a very small faction of “activists” to delete us from the language.

A co-author of the new paper and former president of the Australian College of Midwives, Jenny Gamble, a midwifery professor at the UK-based Centre for Care Excellence for Coventry University and the university hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, said sex-based language “is important due to sex-based oppression”.

Professor Gamble said the trend of erasing or redefining the term “women” had started to sweep the world and that “coming from Australia it seems that the way the UK has moved to erase the use of sexed language has been rapid and extreme”.

In late 2021, when the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published an article titled Those birthing people – they’re women, by the Melbourne University political philosopher Holly Lawford-Smith in an O&G magazine edition on language in women’s health, the article was taken down within a day.

If only feminists could get results that easily.

Chief executive of Gender Equity Victoria, Tanja Kovac, said she was “regularly asked by our own members to comment on [the removal of sexed language]; it’s a significant feminist issue.”

“While we don’t have any time whatsoever for TERF feminism, that does not mean we don’t see a need to provide very tailored policy differences and responses for men, women, trans people who identify as women and other non-binary and gender-diverse people, who need specially, tailored policy for them,” said Ms Kovac.

No they don’t. They claim they do, but they don’t.

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