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Aussie students are urged to avoid words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ for ‘inclusivity’


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Australian university students are being urged to avoid words such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to encourage ‘inclusivity’ on campus. 

Gender neutral words like ‘partner’ are preferred in classes at Western Sydney University, to ‘make everyone feel included’.

The Inclusive Practice guide says: ‘Swapping gendered words for gender neutral ones (and using terms like ”partner” instead of boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife), can make everyone feel included in the conversation.’ 

Gender neutral words like ‘partner’ are preferred to husband and wife in classes at Western Sydney University (pictured), to ‘make everyone feel included’

The word choice recognises that not every student identifies as heterosexual or as a man or a woman, the guide explains.   

The University of New South Wales, meanwhile, has advised staff to refrain from assuming ‘Western name forms’.

‘Family’ and ‘given’ name should be referred to instead of ‘last’ and ‘Christian’ name, the Designing Inclusive Environments section of their website reads.   

‘If in doubt, ask what students find appropriate in terms of modes of address.’  

A ‘diversity toolkit’ on the UNSW website, urges teaching staff to implement  experiential activities ‘to help students (especially ”dominant culture” students) to understand that they too are ”raced” and have cultural norms.’ 

‘At UNSW we aim to help students find respectful and culturally inclusive ways of dealing with controversial issues,’ the page says. 

The University of Newcastle refers to ‘derogatory labelling’ and ‘forms of sexist language’ in its Inclusive Language Guide. 

Terms which discredit minority groups, like the use of ‘whingeing poms’, should be avoided to make sure language on campus is inclusive. 

The University of New South Wales has advised staff to refrain from referring to 'last names' and 'Christian names' as the phrases focus on 'Western names',

The University of New South Wales has advised staff to refrain from referring to ‘last names’ and ‘Christian names’ as the phrases focus on ‘Western names’,

The University of Newcastle says women are often invisible in language, due to the use of masculine pronouns and words like ‘mankind’ and ‘man made’.

‘Where these terms are never varied to include reference to women, the absence/unimportance of women is reinforced,’ the guide says.

‘Alternatives are needed if language is to challenge the implication that women are either absent or less important.  

To avoid sexist language, the university urges using alternatives like ‘humans’ and ‘human beings’ to ‘man’. 

Further, gendered word order can be varied to challenge the established order.

Bella d'Abrera, an Institute of Public Affairs researcher, told The Daily Telegraph the vocabulary was changing how students think - but not necessarily in a good way

Bella d’Abrera, an Institute of Public Affairs researcher, told The Daily Telegraph the vocabulary was changing how students think – but not necessarily in a good way

This reminds ‘the reader of the equality of men and women rather than reinforcing – even subliminally – the perception that men are more important than their female counterparts’. 

Bella d’Abrera, an Institute of Public Affairs researcher, told The Daily Telegraph the vocabulary was changing how students think – but not necessarily in a good way.   

‘They are turning into totalitarian institutions where people will soon be too terrified to use words like ‘husband’ or ‘wife’,’ she said.

‘By changing language, you change thought. Without adequate words, people can’t formulate ideas and describe what is going on around them.

‘By reducing vocabulary, you are reducing their ability to think. It’s exactly the opposite to the core business of the university.’

Western Sydney University and UNSW declined to comment when asked about their inclusive language guides when contacted by The Daily Telegraph.  

A spokeswoman from Newcastle University said their inclusive guidelines encourage students and staff to think about their language use.    

Bella d'Abrera, an Institute of Public Affairs researcher, told The Daily Telegraph the vocabulary was changing how students think - but not necessarily in a good way (stock image)

Bella d’Abrera, an Institute of Public Affairs researcher, told The Daily Telegraph the vocabulary was changing how students think – but not necessarily in a good way (stock image)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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