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Public university offers 10 pronoun choices for women’s leadership program – including male pronouns

UPDATED

Does it exclude men? Only objective requirement is minimum GPA

“WomenLead is a professional Signature Experience that equips undergraduate female students with the skills, experience and networking opportunities needed to get a seat at the table among business leaders,” according to the website for the Georgia State University business school program.

If you want to apply for the Robinson College of Business program, you’ll have no shortage of pronouns to choose from.

The application form for WomenLead includes 10 sets of pronouns as well as a field for entering your own, in case none of the listed options covers you.

Some will be familiar to College Fix readers, including “Xie, hir, hir, hirs, hirself” and “Ze, zir, zir, zirs, zirself.” The plural-pronoun series that starts with “they” is another option.

But others may be unfamiliar to even moderately woke students:

Co, co, cos, cos, coself
En, en, ens, ens, enself
Ey, em, eir, eirs, emself
Yo, yo, yos, yos, yoself [seriously]
Ve, vis, ver, ver, verself

While the usual female pronouns are offered, so are male pronouns, despite the fact that the program is titled “WomenLead” and it’s intended for self-identified women. (The only objective criteria on the application form is minimum GPA, however.)

The application form was shared Sunday by University of Michigan-Flint economist Mark Perry, who regularly files federal Title IX complaints against university programs that exclude males from eligibility.

Another Twitter user predicted that “college kids will pick the stupid” pronouns as a joke, “then the college admins will look at the numbers and hold them up as proof of widespread gender nonconformity, and the need for more of this insanity.”

MORE: CSULB’s new mascot is a nonbinary shark with plural pronouns

The WomenLead website has slightly changed in the past few years. The word “female” only appears once following the removal of its stated mission, which in 2017 read: “Empower female students to aspire to and achieve leadership positions.”

Other than the program name, the depiction of only women as program participants, and the lone “female” reference, the website text does not refer to participants by sex.

Program partners refer to “young women,” “professional women,” “high-potential women” and simply “women” in a promotional video, however. Another video explicitly states the program is for women. The social media profiles for the program sometimes refer to women, and sometimes just to “students.”

On its face, WomenLead would appear to violate Title IX, unless Georgia State offers a comparable men’s leadership program.

The business school launched the program, stylized as “Women Lead,” six years ago. Its press release repeatedly said the program was intended to narrow the perceived gender gap in leadership, despite the fact that women have dominated higher education for decades.

Perry showed The Fix the Dec. 6 Title IX complaint he filed against GSU for the WomenLead program. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights unit in Atlanta told him the following day that his complaint had been “accepted for review” – the initial hurdle before a formal investigation – and was assigned a case number, he said.

He highlighted “multiple gender-specific female references” in the program, demonstrating that WomenLead is a single-sex, female-only program that “illegally excludes and discriminates against” males under Title IX.

Its five-year impact report, released in May, states repeatedly that the program is only for women, for example. The program offers eight scholarships reserved for women as well, three of them added this year.

GSU offers no comparable program “that would fairly and legally accommodate male students who are currently being denied from the educational and financial benefits of this female-only program,” Perry stated in the complaint.

Read the WomenLead application form and website.

UPDATE: Mark Perry confirmed he filed a Title IX complaint against GSU for the WomenLead program after this post was published, and showed The Fix his complaint, which has been incorporated.

MORE: Duke agrees to revise girls-only programs following Perry complaint

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.