‘Don’t call girls girls’ row: ‘Let’s celebrate women not fret about what we should call them’

The Telegraph reports that the head of a group of leading girls’ schools has hit back at the “don’t call girls girls” instruction, as she says teachers should “celebrate women”. Cheryl Giovanni, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), said that the debate about what to call female pupils “misses the point”, adding that there are much “bigger issues” at stake.

She said that teachers should not attempt to “wrap girls in cotton wool”, adding that they will “call you out” if you are “hiding” from the fundamental problems.

Earlier this week, Natasha Devon, the Government’s former mental health tsar, said that teachers should not refer to pupils as “girls” or “ladies” because it means they are “constantly reminded of their gender”.

Ms Giovanni, who heads up a group of 24 independent girls’ schools, said young women need to concentrate on the “more fundamental issues”. 

“Gender inequality is one, gender pay gap is another,  underrepresentation of women in most professions, underrepresentation of girls taking STEM subjects,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.

“There are much bigger issues for us to be debating in a way that actually help move society forwards than whether we call girls ‘girls’ and boys ‘boys’.”

Ms Giovanni told how feminist societies have sprung up in many of the GDST schools in the past few years, which are set up and run by students who want to discuss issues “worthy of debate”. 

“We were started by four pioneering women who wanted girls to get an education, when generally women weren’t being educated,” she said. “We celebrate women and we are all about liberating the potential of girls to go on and make a difference in the world. That’s very much what we believe our schools are here for.”

She said there is “so much to do” that worrying about what term to use when addressing pupils “feels like wasted energy”.

Read more ‘Don’t call girls girls’ row: ‘Let’s celebrate women not fret about what we should call them’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Parent Govenor

    Surely if we outlaw gender differentials, starting with such stereotypical terms as ‘girls’ and ‘boys’, then we are well on the way to removing the possibility of gender discrimination and notions of gender in-equality. Its a no-brain-er.

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