Gender Neutral Language to be used in India

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According to a letter released on Twitter by Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has stated that it will advise ministries to provide gender neutral responses to the Parliamentary inquiries starting with the following session. This followed Chaturvedi’s letter to Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on the use of the word “No sir” in responses to queries posed by female lawmakers.

The director of the committee department of the secretariat, Swarabji B, responded, “The ministries will be asked to submit gender neutral responses to the parliamentary inquiries from the next session of Rajya Sabha onwards.” According to custom, rules of order, and business conduct, the secretariat noted that the Chair is addressed in all Rajya Sabha proceedings. The expression “No, Sir” is frequently used in circumstances where the answer to a question posed in the Parliament is in the negative, Chaturvedi wrote in a letter dated September 8, 2022 to the Union Minister.

However, tradition dictates that the same gender-neutral language be used in the Lok Sabha as well. The Parliament’s Upper House currently has 33 female members. A “alarming degree” of the use of masculine pronouns creates the perception of skewed power systems, as women in leadership roles are frequently referred to as “chairmen” or “party men.”

Both the Houses of Parliament and the Central Ministries have failed in one area, notwithstanding several course changes. It was discovered that 84% of cabinet responses that utilised salutations (sir/madam) addressed to women lawmakers as “sir” in a collection of their responses to 75 queries from the 17th Lok Sabha thus far, according to an editorial in The Hindu.