The Oxford dictionary, over the years, has faced a lot of criticism for its sexist definition and synonyms it had used to describe the word ‘Woman’. However, after reviewing 100s of petitions, that criticised the inclusion of words like, ‘bitch, bint, wench’ when describing a woman, Oxford has finally updated the meaning of the word.
The updated definition of the word ‘Woman’ in the Oxford Dictionary now acknowledges that a woman can be a ‘person’s’ wife, girlfriend, or female lover, instead of being all these things only to a ‘man’.
Earlier, an open letter was signed by the Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality Party demanding an alteration to the definition. The letter read, ‘Bitch is not a synonym for woman. It is dehumanising to call a woman a bitch. It is but one sad, albeit extremely damaging, example of everyday sexism. And that should be explained clearly in the dictionary entry used to describe us’.
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The Oxford University, while talking about the update, said that the changes were implemented after an “extensive review of entries related to woman and many other related terms.”
Some petitions that were filed, besides changing the definition, also sought to change it in a way that it doesn’t reek of men’s ownership over women. Petitions had also sought to enlarge the definition of women to well represent minorities such as transgender women and lesbian women.
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Overall the petition, started by Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, had been signed by as many as 30,000 people. Maria said that she was “very happy” with the changes and felt the campaign had achieved 90 per cent of its aims.
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She further lauded the inclusion of gender-neutral terminology and called it “a huge step forward for the LGBTQI people.” She added, “It is respecting their love and unions.”