City leaders review gender biases scattered through city code

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COLUMBIA - Columbia city leaders will discuss a portion of Columbia's city code Monday night to review suggestions that would make the it more gender inclusive.

An example of the changes look if below. Underlined words would be added, while text with a strike through would being deleted, eliminating words such as "he" and "him":

"The municipal judge shall be a conservator of the peace. He The judge shall keep a docket in which he shall enter every case and proceeding therein commenced shall be entered and kept together with before him and the proceeding therein and he shall keep such other records as required."

There are dozens of these types of language in just Chapter 15, which will be reviewed Monday.

Columbia residents voted 18 years ago to amend the city code to be solely written in gender neutral language; however, the extensive code is still being revised. 

City counselor Nancy Thompson said office staff for the Law and City Prosecutor's office keep an eye out for gender specific wording when working with city documents and let city leaders know when they've identified changes that can be made.

Councilman Michael Trapp, of Ward 2, said "One of our strategic priorities is equity. I think that when we use gender inclusive language we're more opening and accepting to all of our folks. We don't want anyone to feel they are ill served because the language that we're using to describe a certain situation."

The ordinance proposal is on the city's website.