SC: Sexist-Language Has No Place in the Judiciary

October 15, 2021

The Supreme Court has reiterated its directive in a 2006 Administrative Circular advocating the use of gender-fair language in the Judiciary.

The reiteration was made through Memorandum Order No. 90- 2021, Reiterative Issuance Re: Use of Gender Fair Language in the Judiciary, which the Court issued last September 24.

The Court noted that “some of the official documents, communications, and issuances of the Judiciary still use sexist language” despite the seminars and modules, and distribution of manuals and materials to court officials and personnel that consistently advocated the use of gender-fair language.

“WHEREFORE, Administrative Circular No. 82-2006 dated September 19, 2006, in relation to Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 12, Series of 2005, is REITERATED. All official and personnel in the Judiciary are REMINDED and ENCOURAGED to use non-sexist language in all official documents, communications, and issuance,” the Court said in its memorandum.

The Court also directed the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA) to distribute and post anew the official rules on use of gender fair language and examples. Being the Court’s judicial education arm, the PhilJA holds lectures for Court officials and personnel on gender sensitivity and its relevance in the Court’s decisions and proceedings, as well as on the use of gender-fair language.

The SC Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the  Judiciary, led by its Chairperson, Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier,  has also sponsored a learning session on gender and development integration for Justices, judges, officials and representatives of the various courts last September 16, 2021.

In 2006, the Court issued the Administrative Circular No. 82- 2006 in support of the drive of the government to integrate women’s concerns in its plans and programs, through the promotion of gender-sensitivity in the bureaucracy, among others.

The Court stated in its Circular: “Language is a very essential tool in communication. It articulates consciousness, reflects culture, and affects socialization. Hence, the need to recognize the importance of transforming language from traditional usage to a more liberating one, that which is gender sensitive.” It added: “Since government employees and officials encounter gender issues every day, the use of non-sexist language in preparing letters, memoranda, and other issuances, will encourage them to make a conscious effort to avoid implicit and explicit discriminatory language against women or men. This, in turn, will help promote gender-sensitivity in the bureaucracy.”

(Memorandum Order No. 90-2021, Reiterative Issuance Re: Use of Gender Fair Language in the Judiciary, September 24, 2021)