VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Tuesday October 20, 2020, City Councillor Pete Fry’s motion to remove and replace patriarchal language in the Vancouver Charter passed unanimously.
Fry’s motion directs staff to review the Vancouver Charter and recommend amendments in order to replace gendered and patriarchal language with gender neutral and egalitarian language.
“It’s beyond time to remove the archaic gendered language ridilled throughout our charter,” said Fry.
“Although I am privileged to sit on an historic Council that’s majority women, Vancouver has not once had a female Mayor in our city’s 134 year history.
“Unfortunately it’s not a coincidence that the only pronouns used in the Charter to refer to the Mayor are he, him, and his. Sexism, discrimination, and misogyny are deeply rooted in our patriarchal society and our Charter document reflects that."
The Vancouver Charter is the provincial statute that incorporates and empowers the City of Vancouver and its governance. As such, Fry’s motion directs the Mayor, on behalf of Council, to write to the Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs to formally request the gender neutral amendments to the Charter once they are recommended by staff.
“We need the province to approve any changes to our Charter, but once the election is over, and a Minister of Municipal Affairs is appointed, I am hopeful that these changes will receive full support, no matter which party is elected.
“Some people may consider this symbolic but the reality is there is an historical patriarchal hierarchy embedded in our society which is exemplified and perpetuated by the gendered language in our charter. It serves as a constant official reminder of how people who don't identify as men were historically marginalized in our power structures.”