Barry Soper: The push for gender neutral military

Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The top military brass have decided to make the armed services what they call gender inclusive in the hope that women would see it as a more attractive career option.

It seems it was news to their political boss Gerry Brownlee though who says he's already impressed with the number of women who're contributing to the military and he doesn't think changing the titles would make much difference to recruitment. He reckons people are attracted to the roles, not the titles.

His view would seem to be shared by the Americans who toyed with the idea of removing man from military. Their army spokesman, with the rather unfortunate name of Jerry Pionk, says their usually liberal air force will for example continue to use airman for all their personnel, just like policeman and even Congressman.

They're obviously too busy fighting other people's wars to concern themselves with such things.

Not here though where military titles are being changed. Like a military policeman who'll be known as military police with a crewman's being given a rather more grandiose title of, armoured combat specialist, and a rifleman being called just plain infantry.

In the navy it becomes a little more confusing where an able seaman will be known as, general list warfare, and a helicopter crewman will be known as a loadmaster, as opposed to a mistress.

The Minister in charge of our gender neutral police force Judith Collins sniffed at the suggestion that women don't like being called a woman anymore. Not if their job title's based on a gender, she growled.

And that seemed to be echoed by an academic from Massey, who was interestingly described as a feminist commentator. By dropping the man off titles it stopped women questioning if it was a job that they could do.

What ever happened to the notion that girls could do anything? Surely women these days aren't put off applying for a job because of a title and it beggars belief that an employer would reject a female applicant because the title didn't fit. For starters it'd be against the law.

And if they're so concerned with the offensive man word being tacked on to a title, what about human which is derived from Latin meaning man.

When the gender neutral Winston Peters was asked about that word and its male connotation and whether it needed changing as well, he was adamant.

It's a description of a species, he argued, adding with pearly whites gleaming, that looking around Parliament you could be forgiven for not understanding that, before heading off chuckling at his own quick witted sense of humour.

- NZME.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 Sep 2016 20:19:56 Processing Time: 32ms