A guide on how to reduce the use of sexist language was written by a body that attacks violence against women. It has been published by Mexico’s interior ministry, and is being distributed to government offices. (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
In a country renowned for its machismo, the aim of The Manual for the Non-sexist Use of Language is to reduce comments that enforce gender stereotypes, as well as the default use of the masculine form in the Spanish language.
In its introduction, the manual describes itself as “a tool to familiarize federal public workers with the use of non-sexist strategies in the Spanish language”.
It discourages the use of phrases such as: “If you want to work, why did you have children,” and: “You are prettier when you keep quiet”.
Referring to women as possessions, in phrases like “Pedro’s woman”, is not recommended.
The manual also talks about the use of the masculine form in the Spanish language, explaining that “it is very common for us to use the masculine without knowing the gender of the people we are referring to or – even more incoherently – to use masculine adjectives or professional titles even when we know we are talking about a woman”.
The National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women, Conavim, composed the document.
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, while the Mexican government recognized that “insults and harassment” of women remained a problem, protests were held by women’s groups in order to denounce an increase in murders of women because of their gender.
In Mexico this phenomenon is known as femicide.