The International Hockey Federation (FIH) will decide on approving gender-neutral terms in its statutes at next month’s Congress.
While hockey has already seen mixed gender umpiring in the Pro League and women’s matches take equal preference at major tournaments on the pitch, the FIH says that using gender-neutral tems off the field is an “important step” for the hockey community.
Congress will decide at its virtual Congress on May 22 whether to use these terms throughout instead of masculine gender terms; for example, changing his/her to their and her/him to them.
More specifically, if the FIH is using a phrase such as “and during the term of his office”, it would change to “and during term of office”.
Further examples are published in the proposed statute ammendments, released last week by the FIH:
The FIH told THP in a statement: “Whilst hockey really is gender-equal on the field of play – for example, all FIH competitions have the exact same format for Women as for Men – there is still some work to do to achieve the same off the field of play, even though we are on a good way there too.
“Of course, using gender-neutral terms in the FIH Statutes is only one out of a number of measures which need to be taken in order to achieve gender-equality off the field, but it’s an important one and sets the tone for the global hockey community.”
Back on the pitch, history was made early last year when four umpires combined to provide the first mixed gender umpiring teams at a top tier international fixture in the Pro League.
Mixed umpiring has continued in the Pro League at elite level, as have technical officials appointed to either male or female matches, irrespective of their gender.
Other sports are beginning to use gender neutral paradigm in its lexicon.
Leading cricket portal ESPNCricinfo said recently it would be retiring the word ‘batsman’ and ‘man of the match’ and adopting more inclusive terms, replacing with ‘batter’ and ‘player of the match.’