The Warsaw Women’s Council has prepared a handbook on “(I)gender equality in language”. Its aim is to look at why feminatives are important in an equality society. The guide is intended for teachers and teachers. On Friday, around the publication, a debate was held on the role of the symmetrical use of masculine and feminine personal forms in Polish. The initiative does not please the Warsaw councilors of Law and Justice.
The Warsaw Council of Women in cooperation with the capital city hall and the president’s plenipotentiary for women participated in the preparation of the guide “(NOT)gender equality in language”. The publication is intended to help teachers in building awareness of the importance of the role of language in education and the importance of using equality and inclusive language in schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions.
“Schools should make sure that every girl knows that she can become anything she wants – an architect, a scientist, a president, a hairdresser, a nurse, a surgeon, a psychologist, a teacher or a lawyer. The core curriculum is full of male characters, and the language of school textbooks is decidedly androcentric The authors of the publication not only explain why the use of feminatives and language intended for everyone is necessary, but also indicate how to create feminine forms and use them in school, “- describes the publication of the town hall.
President: the guide increases the efficiency of language as a communication tool
According to President Rafał Trzaskowski, promoting and taking care of the use of equality expressions, including feminatives, to which the latest publication is devoted, increases the efficiency of language as a tool of interpersonal communication. Although the handbook is basically intended for teachers, Trzaskowski also recommends it to others. – To all those who are modern, who want to recognize women’s rights, who want to use this type of forms that are natural in language – said the mayor, quoted in the city’s communiqué.
The “Debate on gender (in)equality in life and language” was organized around the publication. It took place on Friday at the History Meeting House. As the city informed, among the invited speakers were: deputy mayors of Warsaw – Aldona Machnowska-Góra and Renata Kaznowska, authors of the guide – prof. dr hab. Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska and prof. UAM dr hab. Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, president of the Warsaw Council of Women – prof. Małgorzata Fuszara, chairwoman of the Education Committee of the Council of Warsaw – Dorota Łoboda, director of the VII LO im. Juliusz Słowacki – Agata Dowgird, teacher – Maria Kowalewska and students from XV LO im. Narcyza Żmichowska.
PiS councilor: feminatives are artificial language creations
The debate organized on Friday aroused opposition from opposition councilors and activists from Law and Justice. In their opinion, it is introducing ideology into schools. According to councilor Oskar Hejka, feminatives are nothing natural, they are “artificial language creations”. – And promoting them means pushing ideology into schools through the back door – the councilor explains. In his opinion, if adults want to use feminatives, it is their right. However, they should not be promoted in schools, because they should be free of ideological messages.
PiS MP and former mayor of Warsaw’s Praga Północ, Paweł Lisiecki, states that he is not against female endings in principle, but that a teacher who imposes feminatives on children exceeds his competence by assuming the role of parents. – If my child addresses others with respect and speaks Polish correctly, no one has the right to correct him in the name of ideology – he commented.
Opposition councilors and PiS activists are also opposed to the list of those invited to the debate. Among the announced speakers are only women. According to Councilor Hejka, language guidelines can only be established in this way if they are to be used in the future only among women.
Vice President Machnowska: learning how to use feminatives is necessary
Deputy Mayor Aldona Machnowska-Góra believes that the debate on feminatives and learning how to use them is necessary, because the language we use shapes the reality that surrounds us. – In the public debate, we still rarely hear about professors, mechanics and presidents. Nobody is outraged by the feminatives of auxiliary professions – a cleaner, a tea maker, a janitor – she said as one of the participants in the debate.