• Tuesday, May 24, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Oxford Dictionary changes the definition of woman

  • Published at 06:31 pm November 9th, 2020
women-rmg-garment worker
File photo of women workers at a garment factory Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The change follows an online petition launched by a woman named Maria Beatrice Giovanardi in 2019, objecting to the definition of the word

The Oxford Dictionary has changed the definition of the word “woman” in its latest edition in the face of widespread allegations of sexual, discriminatory and derogatory references in the previous definition.

The change follows an online petition launched by a woman named Maria Beatrice Giovanardi in 2019, objecting to the definition of the word.

The petition sought to remove words used in the definition and synonyms of “women” that might be considered offensive to that gender.


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A spokesman for the Oxford University Press said the change had been implemented after extensive review reports The Independent.

The dictionary previously defined a woman as a man's wife, girlfriend or lover. The definition was changed so that it no longer seems that women are owned by men, or that their identity depends on men they are related to.

The English synonym for the word also had a number of sexual, discriminatory and derogatory words, a few of which have been omitted in the updated version.   

In response to a question about the change, Maria Beatrice Giovanardi said she was 85% happy with it, and that there are still words in the definition that she deems offensive.

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