The Italian words "Fatti maschii, parole femine" are displayed on a yellow ribbon on Maryland's state seal. The state has long considered the phrase its motto and has translated it as, "Manly deeds, womanly words."
That translation doesn't sit well with state Sen. Bryan W. Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel. He has filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would adopt a more gender-neutral translation, "Strong deeds, gentle words," and codify the motto into law.
The current translation "just struck me as sexist," Simonaire said. "I have five daughters, and I'm very concerned that Maryland is holding onto outdated references. . . . I don't believe Maryland is a sexist state."
A spokesman at the Italian Embassy in Washington said the phrase is derived from a comment made by Pope Clement VII in the 16th century, when he was returning to Italy after a trip to France.