University researchers have recommended terms like ‘ruckman’ and ‘batsman’ be scrapped in favour of ‘ruckperson’ and ‘batter’ to help fight against gender stereotyping.
The push for ‘gender-neutral’ language in sport has been proposed to help reduce violence against women and follows research by Swinburne and Latrobe University researchers .
A key recommendation of the research, according to the Herald Sun, was to employ gender-neutral language across the sporting sector at every level, in a bid to ‘discredit rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity.’
But universities also need to focus on words like ‘spokesperson’ rather than ‘spokesman’, says a top gender studies lecturer.
University researchers have recommended introducing gender-neutral language into sport
Since a roundtable last week, there has been plenty of debate about the effectiveness of the move in dismantling gender stereotypes.
Dr Lauren Rosewarne told Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Monday morning that she thinks gender-neutral language is important, but we should also be focusing on non-sporting terms – like ‘chairperson’ instead of ‘chairman’ as well.
‘I’m always a supporter of language that can be inclusive, [but] I don’t think it’s going to have the impact the researchers think – I think that’s a very long bow to draw,’ she explained.
‘But I am a supporter of gender neutral language,’ she added comparing the recommendation to the recent adoption of gender-neutral language in maths, science and technology.
‘If we identify that we want everybody to feel included, then we have to use language that includes everybody – and that means women,’ she said. ‘It’s not as difficult as you’re making out.’
Dr Lauren Rosewarne said that she is ‘always a supporter of language that can be inclusive’
Dr Rosewarne, a senior lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences, writes, researches and comments on sexuality, gender, feminism, the media, pop culture, public policy and politics.
‘I’ve never seen any research that domestic violence occurs because somebody is calling them a ruckman,’ she elaborated.
‘While I’m passionate about gender-neutral language because I like to be inclusive, I’m not sure in this example that it’s the way to solve the problem.
She said that better terms to work on would be ‘spokesperson’ and ‘chairperson’ – ‘they are examples of words that make assumptions that men are in a position of power always.’
The Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality commissioned the gender-equality roundtable
Dr Emma Sherry is leading the roundtable of Swinburne and Latrobe University researchers
The project was initially commissioned by the Andrews Government’s Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality.
It is being spearheaded by Swinburne’s Dr Emma Sherry, who believes sport plays a significant role in reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality.
The first stage of was to convene a panel of experts in sport and active recreation, women’s equality, and prevention of violence for the round table.
An in-depth summary of the findings will be presented to the Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality later this month, according to Swinburne University, and will be put into effect in 2018.