This Is the Oxford English Dictionary’s New, Less ‘Sexist’ Definition Of ‘Woman’

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has updated its definition of the word "woman" following a campaign highlighting the ways in which it was sexist and out-of-date.
The new, more inclusive definition recognises the fact that a woman can be "a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover" rather than simply a "man's".
The definition of "man" has been brought up-to-date in the same way to reflect the fact that a man can have a partner of any gender.
The new definition also qualifies some of the words listed as synonyms for "woman" – such as "bitch" and "bint" – by acknowledging that they are "offensive", "dated" and "derogatory'.
Advertisement
The update comes following a campaign by Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, who created an online petition insisting that "this sexist dictionary must change". The petition attracted more than 34,000 signatures and was given wholehearted support by the leaders of Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality Party.
Giovanardi wrote in her petition: "Over a third of young women aged between 18 to 24 have been targeted by online abuse. We can take a serious step towards reducing the harm this is causing our young women and girls by looking at our language – and this starts with the dictionary."
Giovanardi told The Independent that she is "85% happy" with the Oxford English Dictionary's update, which she hailed as a "big improvement" and "a big win for the LGBT community".
However, she expressed disappointment that the word "bitch" remains listed as a synonym for "woman", albeit with the new qualification that it is "offensive".
“'Bitch' is not just an offensive word," she said, "it’s sexist and could be considered hate speech because women are an oppressed group".

More from Culture

R29 Original Series