Use ‘egg-producing’ not ‘female’, say scientists in call to phase out binary language

Researchers studying ecology and evolutionary biology should be encouraged to use terms such as “sperm-producing” or “egg producing” or “XY/XX individual” to avoid “emphasising hetero-normative views”, experts say.

Other words and terms deemed problematic include man, woman, mother, father, primitive, advanced, alien, invasive, exotic, non-native and race.

The terms were gathered as part of the EEB (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) Language Project, founded by a collaboration of scientists in the US and Canada who claim some terminology is not inclusive, and could be harmful.

However, critics warned that abandoning traditional terms for the sake of inclusivity could leave science lacking precision, as well as causing confusion.

Prof Frank Furedi, an education expert at the University of Kent, said: “I think that when you characterise terms like male/female, mother/father as harmful you are abandoning science for ideological advocacy.

“Regardless of intent, the project of re-engineering language will cause confusion to many and the last thing that scientists need is a lack of clarity about the meaning of the words they use.”

Source: Use ‘egg-producing’ not ‘female’, say scientists in call to phase out binary language

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