In a major initiative taken by Speaker Meira Kumar, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha and Directions by the presiding officer are being made gender neutral. This is part of an effort to promote gender equality.The Rules Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved the gender neutral Rules and Directions. The committee report was laid in the House on Thursday. The gender neutral Rules and Directions would come into force after approval by the House. In the existing Rules and Directions, words importing the masculine gender and masculine pronoun are taken to refer to both genders as per Section 13 of General Clauses Act 1897.
Attempts have been made in many countries in the last couple of years to draft Laws and Rules of Parliament in gender neutral and inclusive language. Gender neutral language would treat man and woman equally. As per the existing practice, the use of the masculine gender and masculine pronoun is taken to refer to both male and female. In gender-neutral language, use of masculine pronoun will be avoided by using certain techniques. Gender-specific ‘Chairman’ is replaced with gender-neutral ‘Chairperson.’