Elite Boston Girls School Discourages Calling Girls ‘Girls’

The school said teachers should respect the girls' preferred pronouns.
Restroom. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

An elite girls school in Boston is discouraging teachers from addressing female students as “girls,” saying they should respect the girls’ preferred pronouns.

The Winsor School, a top private girls school in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, issued the guidance on “gendered language” in a report on diversity, equity, and inclusion at the school this past fall.

“Although Winsor remains in its mission a school for ‘young women to pursue their aspirations and contribute to the world,’ the school recognizes the importance of inclusive language,” Winsor said in the report.

“Winsor has, for example, adopted changes to its use of gendered language and pronouns to be more inclusive,” the report continued. “External publications and communications have moved away from using ‘she, her, hers’ and ‘your daughter,’ replacing the former with ‘they, them, theirs’ and the latter with ‘student.'”

“Faculty and staff are discouraged from addressing groups of students as ‘girls’ and ‘ladies,’ and teachers address students by their preferred pronouns,” the school said in the report.

“I often say that the responsibility we have as Winsor educators, as adults in the school, is to help students understand the very, very complex question ‘Who am I?’ A pretty simple question, but it is so layered, thinking about, ‘Who I am in terms of my gender and gender identity? Who am I in terms of my racial identity? Who am I in terms of my class?'” said Julie Braxton, Winsor’s director of community and inclusion.

Founded in 1886, Winsor consistently ranks among the top schools in the country, with nearly a third of Winsor graduates going on to attend Ivy League universities. In 2010, Forbes named Winsor the 10th best prep school in the country.

Notable alumni who attended the school include Olympic gold medalist Tenley Albright, film director Hilary Birmingham, and former Vogue editor Barbara Cushing Mortimer Paley.

Tuition is $53,900 a year.

“Empowering girls to lead lives of purpose,” reads a message displayed prominently on the school’s website homepage.

“The Winsor School’s mission is to educate girls to be intellectually curious, motivated, and generous-minded,” Winsor’s “Strategic Vision” states.

Winsor is not the first girls school in the U.S. to face the issue of female students who no longer identify as female.

The Marlborough School, an all girls school in Los Angeles that was founded just three years after Winsor in 1889, faced a similar quandary in 2017.

Marlborough decided it was open to admitting students who were born male but now identify as female, but the school said it will ask girls who start identifying as male to leave and find a new school.

Meanwhile, a transgender swimmer at an Ivy League university, who’s now easily defeating females after competing in male events for years, recently reignited an ongoing debate about the future of women’s sports. Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has smashed records on the women’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, but some of Thomas’s teammates have said the playing field is unfair.

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