The recently adopted changes to its use of gendered language by an elite girls’ prep school in Boston has some parents scratching their heads as to why the institution has focused so heavily on the modifications. They’re also questioning how the school will continue to market itself as offering education in an all-girls setting.
Winsor School is a private college preparatory day school teaching girls in grades five through 12. It was last fall that the all-girls institution, which costs parents approximately $50,000 a year and is routinely ranked as one of the 50 best private day schools in the United States, released what it called its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) report dubbed “Lift Every Voice.”
While administrators described the new document as “an outcome and self-reflection of the school’s work in diversity, equity and inclusion” it was also explained as “a touchstone for the Winsor community and a blueprint for the work ahead,” according to its website.
Yet, some parents who are only recently catching on to the changes are questioning portions of the more than 55-page report’s content that stresses inclusive language and its noted adoption of gendered language and pronouns. They say the degendering of language undermines the very purpose of an all-girls school.
Specifically, faculty and staff are discouraged from addressing groups of students as “girls” and “ladies” and teachers now address students by their preferred pronouns.
Consideration is also taken when it comes to terms describing family structure. For instance, in the case of school admission, interviews are now called the “Adult family member interview” rather than “Parent/guardian interview.” That’s as school external publications and communications have replaced “she, her, hers” and “your daughter,” replacing the former with “they, them, their” and the latter with “student.”