What’s wrong with the word ‘woman’?

Sir, – The words “woman” and “mother” are being erased from our legislation by our legislators and State agencies without women, who are the stakeholders affected, being asked to consent to such erasure.

Last year the HSE removed the word “woman” from cervical check material and website and replaced it with the phrase “people with a cervix”. Many women were outraged and said so. After a few months, the HSE said that it had listened to “extensive stakeholder feedback” and the phrase “people with a cervix” was changed to incorporate “women and people with a cervix” wherever it appears in its literature.

Last month, at the lightning pace of shorter than two weeks, the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was initiated and passed through both the Seanad and the Dáil. The Bill removes the word “mother” from seven existing Acts. The proposed Organisation of Working Time (Reproductive Health Related Leave) Bill 2021 Bill to allow for paid time off for women and mothers, if they have had a miscarriage or need to undergo IVF, doesn’t mention women or mothers once. In addition, both private member Bills to provide free period products before the Seanad don’t mention women or girls once – just “person” or “persons” in the case of the Labour-sponsored Bill and “those” and “everyone” in the Fianna Fáil Bill.

It is an outrageous insult to women to remove our name from legislation intended to benefit those of our sex. It would be foolhardy for politicians to think that Irish women and mothers will remain silent on this. – Is mise,




Dublin 6.