The Department of Labor wants to eliminate mankind.
For that matter> the Department is equally opposed to sisterhood, bat boys, copygirls or to anyone who dares call a woman pilot an aviatrix.
Labor, for several years, has been laboring to destroy sexist job titles where it can find them. Judging from the giant Dictionary of Occupational Titles it has worked up, the neuter squad at the Department takes its work seriously.
Labor has long banned its own from using, writing or thinking in sexist terms. By the same token the Department, one of the major contractors in government, won't hire anyone who uses words or phrases that allow gender to rear its ugly head in conversation or written word. In the process "Bat Boys" have been reduced to "Bat Handlers," and thousands of other titles with male or female references have been administratively outlawed by the Department.
Labor has done yeoperson (formerly, yeoman) work in its own house. It has been more than diligent in wiping out most of the overtly sexist names for offices, bureaus and sections that still are tolerated in some other government departments and in the private sector. The Manpower Administration lost its sexist title sometime back, but the Women's Bureau is still part of the department, at least for the moment.
In recent months, the Department has begun to enlarge the scope of its antigender drive. Contractors who want to be paid for doing articles, speeches, artwork or studies for the Department, have been told that only the right-thinking will be accepted. To make sure they know what is right, Labor has issued various guidelines that outside contractors are to follow when preparing items for the Department. Contracts now provide that "all written materials issued by a contractor or grantee shall conform to the following guidelines for eliminating language and artwork. . ."
To know what to avoid, Labor suggests would-be writers and artists check the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. It, for example, has made "longshoremen" into "longshore workers" and so forth.
When writing about "people as a whole" Labor says that "mankind" is not acceptable. Words "human being" or "people" should be used instead.
"Avoid the use of masculine and feminine pronouns or adjectives in referring to a hypothetical person or people in general. Changes sentences such as: the average American worker spends 20 years of his life in the workforce," so that him, her, he, she, is not used, the guidelines say.
Contractors are given a quickie grammar lesson (revised) that suggests "rewording, recasing or replacing" sex-designations through a combination of elimination, addition, changes in plural or replacement of pronouns.
Words like "man-years" and terms like "man-sized" are out, Labor says. Instead contractors and employes should use things like "employe-years" and "employe-hours" to describe time.
Even artists are being told to conform to the guidelines. They include:
"(a) Strive to use racially and sexually balanced designs.
"(b) Depict both men and women in artwork on general subject matters.
"(c) Show men and women in a variety of roles in photographs, illustration, and drawings
Departmental persons involved in the program say they have had "amazing and helpful" response from contractors and employes. "Most people never realize they are being sexist until it is pointed out to them," an official said.
Civil Service Reform: The White House tentatively has set Thursday as the day President Carter will sign the CS reform package into law. It will fulfill one of his primary campaign promises, which was to shake up the bureaucracy (it will) and streamline it.
The reforms center around the Senior Executive Service which, when in full operation, will include all of the 9,200 top career and political appointees in Grades 16 and above. Incumbents can remain outside the SES. But newly promoted people will have to join the service, which promises bonuses and top assignments for achievers, and demotions for the medicore. The CS package also is designed to set up a system of merit raises for mid-managers and to make it easier to fire marginial workers.
It will be several years before anyone knows if the reforms help, hurt, or make no difference in the way government operations. But the process begins this week when the President signs the bill into law.