London, June 14 (ANI): An equality watchdog has suggested that using the phrase "WAGs" to describe the wives and girlfriends of footballers is "sexist".
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) criticised the use of the term and said that it can be "offensive".
A spokesman said that the word was usually used as a "pejorative" phrase to demean a group of women, and that there were very few positive depictions of footballers' partners in the media.
The EHRC makes the claim in a language guide issued to staff, which features words and phrases to be avoided when writing official documents.
"You could argue (that the phrase is sexist), in the way in which it was used, if it was being used in a particularly derogatory way or to pejoratively target a group of women," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman as saying.
"If you were to say 'WAGs are stupid, thick, wear too much make up, spend too much money, don't have any taste' - not that of course I would - then 'WAGs' would be seen as offensive, by lumping them together.
"The word is usually used alongside a load of other pejorative language about 'WAGs'. You don't see a lot of entirely positive stories about WAGs and how intelligent they are and what a force for better in the world they are.
"I cannot recall any publications in which we have used this phrase. It is not a term we use or intend to use," the spokesman added.
The acronym "WAG" rose to prominence during the last World Cup, in Germany in 2006, when several partners of England players stayed near the team camp in the spa town of Baden Baden.
Their well-publicised shopping trips and visits to restaurants had threatened to overshadow the action on the pitch.
Since then, the phrase has become well established in popular culture.
The full entry in the EHRC style guide states: Wags - Wives and girlfriends (generally of footballers: the term was popularised during the 2006 World Cup); the singular is Wag.
The guide says the term WAG is "now in danger of overuse and arguably sexist" although variations include Habs (husbands and boyfriends). (ANI)