Alternatives to terms like “male” and “female” and “mother” and “father” should be sought in science because they assume that sex is binary and heterosexuality is the norm, a group of researchers from the US and Canada suggests.
Male and female should instead be referred to as “sperm-producing” and “egg-producing,” the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Language Project said, according to the Times of London.
Meanwhile, father and mother should be labeled “parent,” “egg donor” and “sperm donor” in the scientific field.
The group has called on the scientific field to use words that are more “inclusive and precise,” according to a press release from the University of British Columbia, which has three researchers in the initiative.
“Much of Western science is rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and patriarchy, and these power structures continue to permeate our scientific culture,” some project members wrote in the Trends in Ecology and Evolution journal.
UBC assistant professor Dr. Kaitlyn Gaynor said the undertaking began from a Twitter conversation among a few people about terminology that is potentially harmful.
“We reached out to different networks in ecology and evolution that were focused on increasing inclusion and equity in the field to rally support for one very specific action —revising terminology that might be harmful to certain people, particularly those from groups historically and currently excluded from science,” she said, according to the press release.