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With women in combat, taking the ‘man’ out of job titles

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — s Now that women will be allowed to serve in all combat jobs, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are dropping “man” from some of their job titles to make them inclusive and gender-neutral.

Much like the term “fireman” has evolved to “firefighter” and “policeman” to “police officer,” an engineman could be called an engine technician and a yeoman could be called an administrative specialist.

“This is one more step in how our force has changed,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in an interview Friday. “Our force has evolved, our force is different. And I believe it’s stronger and better.”

Some Army and Air Force titles end in “man,” too, but the services aren’t considering changing them. The names are historically significant, and the focus now is on bringing women into the jobs rather than on what to call them, both services said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the military in December to open all military jobs to women, including the Marine Corps and special operations forces like Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets.

During a visit to Newport, Rhode Island, in late May, Carter was asked by The Associated Press whether job titles that end in “man” should change throughout the military. Carter spoke about the benefits of opening jobs to women to make “full use of the wonderful talents of half of the population of the country.”

“Signifying that in all appropriate ways is, I think, exactly that, very appropriate and needed,” he said.

Carter said that he didn’t offhand have a good alternative for titles that were stripped of “man,” but that someone smart was going to figure it out.

Mabus called in January for a review of Navy and Marine titles. There are nearly two dozen in the Navy that end in “man” and roughly a dozen in the Marines.


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