The Oxford Dictionary has updated its definitions of the word, woman.

The decision to change the definition of the word woman was taken after several petitions were filed last year in this regard.

The Oxford University Press also updated the sexist and offensive synonyms used for women in its dictionary.

Oxford Dictionary was criticized by the petitioners for the inclusion of words like ‘bitch, bint, wench’ and other offensive terms as synonyms for women.

According to a media report, the updated definition in the Oxford Dictionary now acknowledges that a woman can be a person’s wife, girlfriend or female lover.

Oxford University Press has also changed the definition of man which now includes similar gender-neutral terminology.

The Oxford Dictionary has brought changes in other words related to sexual attractiveness and activity, the report said.

The report quoted an Oxford University Press spokeswoman as saying that the changes were implemented after an “extensive review of entries related to woman and many other related terms”.

According to The Guardian, the petitions, who launched a campaign in support of their demand to bring in changes in the definition of several words in Oxford Dictionary, argued that the examples the dictionary offered for man were much more exhaustive than those for a woman.

They were of the view that the dictionary presented women as subordinate or an irritation.

Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality party supported the campaign this year on International Women’s Day.

The campaigners signed an open letter and demanded OUP to change the sexist definitions.

The letter said: “Bitch is not a synonym for woman. It is dehumanising to call a woman a bitch. It is but one sad, albeit extremely damaging, example of everyday sexism. And that should be explained clearly in the dictionary entry used to describe us.”

The campaign was started by Maria Beatrice Giovanardi and the petition reached 30,000 signatures.


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