[OT but brief] ISO 5218 (was: Re: Pinyin)

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Thu Sep 25 14:59:26 CEST 2008

Lang Gérard <gerard dot lang at insee dot fr> wrote:

> For example, the social security identifier in France is a numeric-13 
> number, the fisrt one being 1 for men and 2 for wemen. Andd wemen 
> organizations have protested because 1 is before 2. So, I proposed to 
> choose a digitalization only using bits (0/1), so that the fist digit 
> could be 0 for wemen and 1 for men, and so we have 0 before 1 in the 
> natural order, but this was not accepted.

The convention that 1 = male, 2 = female conforms to ISO 5218, as I'm 
sure you know.  Probably it was felt better to conform to an existing 
standard than to invent a conflicting one, a principle which [ObLangtag] 
we try to follow in BCP 47 as well.

The Wikipedia article on ISO 5218 says, "The standard explicitly states 
that no significance is to be placed on the fact that male is encoded as 
1 and female as 2," so evidently ISO has also faced (or anticipated) 
criticism over the alleged "priority" of 1 over 2.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ

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