Oxford University Press has updated its dictionaries on the definitions of the word “woman”. As per the update it is acknowledged that a woman can be “a person’s wife, girlfriend or female lover”, rather than only a man’s. The entry for “man” has also been amended.
Labels have been applied to the terms such as “derogatory”, “offensive” or “dated”, such as the word “bitch” and “bint”, which are listed as synonyms for the word woman. This change in the update was reviewed and triggered by a petition last year criticizing the dictionaries inclusion of bitch, bint, wench and other offensive remarks, which were among the list of synonyms for women.
The leaders of Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality party threw their weight behind the campaign this year on International Women’s Day, by signing an open letter calling on OUP to change the sexist definitions.
“Bitch is not a synonym for woman. It is dehumanizing to call a woman a bitch. It is but one sad, albeit extremely damaging, example of everyday sexism. And that should be explained clearly in the dictionary entry used to describe us“, it read.