Psst drop the “mothers”

Stonewall to Oxford: don’t refer to mothers as “she” if you want to score well.

Stonewall told Oxford University to stop referring to mothers as “she” in order to win a higher place on its controversial employer scheme, new documents have revealed.

The university had tried to keep its correspondence with the lobby group secret. However, it was ordered to release the documents after the information commissioner ruled that participation in the Workplace Equality Index allowed Stonewall to “exercise a significant degree of influence” over the policies of public organisations.

And in doing so, telling them to erase women from the language.

Oxford University was ranked 93rd in the 2019 Workplace Equality Index. A year later, it climbed to 76th place.

Big jump!

The documents show that in its 2020 feedback, Stonewall took issue with Oxford referring to mothers as “she” in its maternity policies, despite its advice to make the language gender neutral.

“There is good work on your policies, and it’s good to see clear commitments to trans staff,” the Stonewall assessor wrote. “The majority of your family policies are gender neutral which is good, but you use ‘she’ in the maternity policy and I recommend reviewing the glossary to expand the definition of ‘mother’ to ensure it is fully inclusive.”

What glossary would that be? The one that says men can be mothers?

Men can’t be mothers though. That’s one of the most basic things humans know – it’s female people who are mothers, female people exclusively.

In its 2019 feedback, Stonewall said: “Some great work here and clear thought-out responses to the questions. Please keep in mind that any examples in your training should cover sexual orientation and gender identity, there is a lot here which are examples of homophobia but not biphobia and/or transphobia.”

Probably because they’re not real.

Stonewall said: “We are absolutely not trying to eliminate the word ‘mother’. Every parent should be supported by their employers, and our advice simply highlights the importance of inclusive language in ensuring that HR policies, such as family and parental leave policies, are inclusive of all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer staff.”

Blah blah blah every parent, but it’s women who face particular hardships and demands that stem from motherhood. And how exactly can maternal leave be “inclusive” of queer people? When nobody knows what “queer” even means?

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