Queensland restores gendered language to law

Throughout the Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Qld), the Queensland government has included amendments what would omit the word “chairperson” and replace it with “chairman”. James Cook University lecturer Kate Galloway argues that although this has no legal effect, it is nevertheless “not only a retrograde step, but an indefensible one.” She argues: “There is certainly no harm in retaining the existing ‘chairperson’. The proposed change reinforces masculine norms that form an implicit barrier to women in achieving leadership roles within the law, and a precedent for wider use of masculine language as a means of excluding and potentially discriminating against women through the law.”