Royal Navy 'to drop term seaman' to convince more women to join

The Royal Navy will reportedly replace ‘seaman’ in rank titles and ban the use of ‘unmanned’ and ‘manpower’ in a bid to fight institutional sexism.

First Sea Lord Tony Radakin has called for the changes to be rolled out to avoid female recruits feeling excluded, according to The Sun.

Sources said there was an acceptance within the ranks that some terms are no longer appropriate and considered problematic. It is understood that leaders want to get rid of gendered terms where possible to attract more female recruits.

‘The vast majority of people in the Navy accept that some terms are problematic or no longer appropriate. Leadership are keen to ensure that, where practicable, gendered terms aren’t used,’ a source said.

However, it is understood that there is some disagreement over the move, with The Sun quoting one senior official who branded it ‘a pathetic and woke distraction from keeping Britain safe’.

It was reported earlier this week that the Royal Canadian Navy will be dropping the term ‘seaman’ because of its ‘double entendre’.

Deborah-Lynn Gates, who is responsible for the navy’s personnel policy, said a more gender-neutral term was needed to be ‘truly representative’ of Candaian society and ensure junior members feel safe and proud of their rank.

Gates suggested the use of ‘seaman’ has been a potential barrier to recruitment for the navy, which has been pushing to address a shortage of 850 sailors, according to local reports.

Last year, The Royal Navy was voted in The Times as one of the top 50 employers for females for the second year running.

According to a 2018/19 survey by Statistica, around 22,750 men worked for the Royal Navy, compared to less than 3,000 women.  This was an increase of the previous year but down compared to 2012 for all genders, reflecting recruitment shortages grappling the armed forces in the UK.

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