The Royal Navy is to ban the use of ‘unmanned’ and ‘manpower’ in a bid to fight fears of sexism.
First Sea Lord Tony Radakin has called for the changes to be rolled out to avoid female recruits feeling excluded.
Sources said there was an acceptance within the force that some terms are no longer appropriate and considered problematic and that leaders wanted to get rid of gendered terms where possible.
The Royal Navy is to ban the use of ‘unmanned’ and ‘manpower’ from vessels including HMS Queen Elizabeth
It comes after the word ‘seaman’ was dropped by the Canadian Navy, though this was reportedly due to its ‘double entendre’.
One senior officer told The Sun: ‘This is a pathetic, woke distraction from keeping Britain safe. The only reason to change the labels is if it’s a barrier to recruiting women, but recruitment has never been stronger.’
The Navy has found it difficult to recruit women in recent years, and it wasn’t until 2012 that Sarah West, from Grimsby, became the first female captain of a major warship in the force’s 500-year history.
Commander West was responsible for a 185-strong crew on HMS Portland, a Type 23 frigate bristling with submarine-hunting kit, Sea Wolf and Harpoon missiles, Stingray torpedoes and a Lynx attack helicopter.
She told the Mirror in 2014: ‘I’m really proud to be the first woman but I’m not reinventing the wheel. Lots of women in the services have challenging roles. It’s just that I happen to be newsworthy at the moment.
‘There are drawbacks though. Years at sea probably explains why I’m single. But every person in the military makes sacrifices.