We recently discussed the struggle at all-women schools like Hollins University in stopping the use of gender as a defining characteristic. Mount Holyoke previously ordered faculty to stop referring to students as “women.” It is a difficult transition for schools that remain gender exclusive in avoiding gender references. Now, Boston’s all-girls Winsor School, has adopted a diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) plan to drop references to gender such as “she, her, hers’’ and “your daughter.”
Under the school’s “Lift Every Voice” plan, the school does not want to hear or read references to “ladies” or “girls” but “Winsor remains in its mission a school for ‘young women to pursue their aspirations and contribute to the world.’”
Winsor’s website also still uses “girls” but the school is committed to ending references to the gender that is the defining characteristic for entry into the expensive school.
These controversies show an increasing convergence of genderless policies and gender-centered programs. The obvious conflict will continue to present unavoidable problems for those who want to define their institutions by gender while rejecting definitions based on gender.