In a shocking move, the Navy has decided to cancel its new gender-neutral job title system, after sustaining incredible amounts of criticism.
The Navy was supposed to announce the decision Wednesday, but details of the NAVADMIN message leaked out to social media Tuesday evening, according to a Facebook post by Navy Adm. John Richardson, who serves as chief of naval operations.
Richardson called the new change, which reverts to a system with “man” in various job titles like “hospital corpsman,” a “course correction.”
This memo will be officially released at 8 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.
“We have learned from you, and so effective immediately, all rating names are restored,” Richardson wrote in the message, USNI News reports. “The feedback from current and former sailors has been consistent that there is wide support for the flexibility that the plan offers, but the removal of rating titles detracted from accomplishing our major goals.”
Sailors were upset at what they felt was an unnecessary and politically correct culture change, especially because the old ratings system makes the Navy distinct from other services and fosters a sense of pride and preserves a 241-year tradition.
The original effort to change the job title system was pioneered by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, in order to make job titles more welcoming to women, who are now able to access all combat roles as of last December. The Navy announced the new job title system in late September, much to the dismay of a sizable number of sailors. That frustration erupted in the form of a White House petition urging the Obama administration to restore the old job title system. Although the petition reached the threshold mark of 100,000 signatures, the White House weighed in and said that it trusted the move by Navy officials to modernize the service.
Dave Weeks, the Navy veteran who created the petition, told The Virginian-Pilot that although he had heard of the Navy’s course correction Tuesday and didn’t believe it until Richardson himself confirmed the news. However, Weeks is very much glad about the reversal.
“It was a source of sailors’ identity and everyone thought they kind of lost some of that when they talked about taking that away,” Weeks said.
“I’m glad that leadership listened to the sailors and, you know, took it to heart and reversed course on it,” Weeks added.
Despite a return to the old job title system, it’s far from clear that Navy officials will end the effort to make job titles gender neutral.
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