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Trans Research Guide

Gender-Inclusiveness in the Classroom

Model inclusiveness in your classroom by including your own pronouns in your syllabus, Zoom profile, and slides.

Asking your students to introduce themselves with their preferred names and pronouns and let them know they can contact you privately if they don't feel comfortable speaking out, or use a pre-class survey.

Use any slip-ups as teaching moments, by acknowledging the error and correcting yourself. My Pronouns.Org has suggestions on how to handle mistakes in different situations. 

Consider adding a gender inclusion statement to your syllabus, or include gender in a diversity syllabus statement

Use gender-inclusive language in written and oral presentations. 

Diversify your readings to include a variety of experts.

Gender diverse course readings

Representation in the curriculum is key to a student's success. Harris et al. (2020) argue that the gender disparity that is often reflected in the syllabus may result in "women being less likely than men to author peer-reviewed publications".

While representation does vary across disciplines, A 2019 study of all the syllabi in International Relations at the London School of Economics found that "79.2% of the texts on reading lists are authored exclusively by men, reflecting neither the representation of women in the professional discipline nor the published discipline." (Phull, K., Ciflikli, G., Meibauerm, G. (2019)). A 2018-19 study at Washington University found that 33.8% of readings had a woman as a first or sole author (with 66.2% having a male first or sole author) (Harris, J. et al. (2020)). 

Tools and Resources: 

There are many databases available to search for diverse experts in a variety of disciplines. Following are some that focus on promoting women and gender minorities. 

AcademiaNet: Database of profiles of female researchers from all disciplines 

Women Also Know Stuff: Search for experts by subject interest

Cite Black Women: Podcast, social media community/

Gage: A resource to find women and gender minorities in STEMM professions

LGBT Scholar Network: Twitter feed "Amplifying LGBTQ scholars and scholarship across all academic disciplines."

Gender-Inclusive Language

Being aware of the language you use takes some effort, but is key to making students feel included. Inclusive language means not just using correct pronouns but also not unnecessarily identifying gender. Here are some previously accepted gendered terms and some suggested inclusive replacements. Keep in mind, that using "him or her" also leaves people out. 

Gendered Language

Neutral language

Mankind Humankind
Chairman Chair, chairperson
Businessman/Businesswoman, Policeman/Policewoman, Congressman etc. Businessperson/Executive, Police officer, Congressperson
Guys Folks
Ladies and Gentlemen Everyone
Mother/Father, Brother/Sister, Husband/Wife, Son/Daughter Parent, Sibling, Spouse/Partner, Child
Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs Mx

Tips for avoiding sexist language 

  • Respect people's preferred pronouns
  • Acknowledge and correct yourself when you make an error
  • Rewrite to remove pronouns 
  • Use gender-neutral pronouns

Trans Inclusive Practices in the Classroom

They as a singular pronoun

The use of the singular "they" has sometimes been avoided as it was not seen as proper stylistic use. Over time, this has changed and Merriam Webster, the American Psychological Association, The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Medical Association all now accept the use of the singular "they" as a replacement for the generic "he" when gender is not specified, and, of course, in instances where an individual prefers the pronoun they. 

Cork board with 3 notes pinned to it, with different pronouns typed on them: he/him, they/them/, she/her.

Gender Balance Assessment Tool

The Gender Balance Assessment Tool (GBAT), created by Assistant Prof. Jane Sumner at the University of Minnesota, can help you assess your syllabus by determining the approximate percent of women-authored texts included.

Gender Terminology

Gender terminology chart: Gender Attribution = how your gender is perceived by others. Gender Identity: How you identify. Sex assigned at Birth: what the medical community labels you. Gender expression: How you want to display your gender

Source: GLSEN