By Carol Britton Meyer
Through a citizen's petition, the Hingham League of Women Voters is proposing a warrant article for Town Meeting 2021 that calls for amending the town's general by-laws to include gender-neutral terms.
The League believes such changes are in the best interests of the town, supporting equity for all citizens, elected officials, and staff and recognizing the many contributions women have made to civic life in Hingham.
Hingham would join more than 90 other Massachusetts communities who now use the term "select board" or other similar terms rather than "selectmen" if the article passes.
Milton and Scituate made that same change along with all gender-neutral terms, which is what the LWV is proposing for Hingham.
The word "chairman" would be changed to "chair" or "chairperson," and the words "he" and "she," "his" and "hers," and "him" and "her" wherever they appear in the general by-laws would be replaced with the words "they," "their," or "them" -- among other proposed changes.
The warrant article calls for the switch to gender-neutral terms in all currently active Town of Hingham communications and documents such as policies, regulations, and rules "where reasonably practical" and in all future town communications and documents.
"A cooperative effort is implied," Hingham LWV member Liza O'Reilly said recently. "There is no specific deadline or penalty."