Measure R

Oakland Gender Neutral Language

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CITY OF OAKLAND—Would amend the City Charter to replace gender-specific language with gender neutral language, such as replacing words like "fireman" with "firefighters" and using gender-neutral pronouns in referring to City officers and staff. Measure R requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.

Fiscal Impact:This measure will have a very minimal financial impact to the City. If approved, the City Charter will be updated in its entirety to replace gender specific language with gender neutral and gender inclusive language, including gender neutral pronouns.

Next Alameda County Measure: Measure S



No official argument for Measure N was submitted.

A YES vote on this measure means: The City Charter would be amended to replace gender-specific language with gender neutral language.


No official argument against Measure N was submitted.

A NO vote on this measure means: The City Charter would not be amended to replace gender-specific language with gender neutral language.

In Depth

The Oakland City Charter currently contains language that assumes the gender identity of various City personnel, such as referring to City Councilmembers, the Mayor, and other City Officers and employees using the masculine pronouns "he," "him," and "his." In addition, the Charter uses gendered terminology such as referring to female police officers as "matrons," referring to surviving spouses as "widows," referring to workers as "workmen," and referring to firefighters as "firemen."

This measure would update the language of the City Charter to use gender-inclusive language, including non-gendered language and gender-neutral pronouns. The amendments are summarized in the table at the link below on page 66.

This measure also would delete two obsolete articles of the Charter: Article 15 (the Police Relief and Pension Fund) and Article 16 (the Firemen's Relief and Pension Fund). These articles were consolidated and superseded when the voters enacted Article 26 (the Police and Fire Retirement System).

The measure is consistent with City Council Resolution 88320 C.M.S. which established a City policy requiring that City conduct its affairs in a manner that uses gender inclusive language and City of Oakland's commitment to advancing equity and prohibiting discrimination and sexual stereotyping. The Oakland City Council placed this measure on the ballot.

Source: City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure R

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