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ARGENTINA | 01-08-2019 14:52

UBA Faculty of Social Sciences approves use of inclusive language

The faculty will now recognise the use of gender-neutral language – like replacing “o” with “e” in general nouns – in academic work.

The Faculty of Social Sciences of the prestigious University of Buenos Aires (UBA) will begin recognising the use of inclusive language in work conducted by its undergraduates and graduate students in accordance with a resolution approved by its board of directors.

Upon ratifying the measure, the directors said they considered “the language with which we communicate and relate to one another have connotations that reflect inequalities between the genders, naturalise segregation, discrimination or exclusion.” 

Gender inclusive language seeks to what is considered the sexist use of language and proposes, for example, to eliminate grammatical distinctions of gender and replacing the universal masculine with the letter “o” with the more neutral letter “e.”

The use of gender-neutral language, not approved by the Royal Spanish Academy, is used with increasing frequency across Argentina, especially among the youth, but still faces pushback from traditionalists.

The resolution signed by the dean of the Faculty, Carolina Mera and the secretary of institutional management, Javier Hermo, further entrusts the sub-secretary of gender policy of the faculty to implement training and dissemination measures to respect “women's rights, sexual and gender diversity.”

In a text critical of the decision, José Luis Moure, the president of the Argentine Academy of Letters warned the imposition of “e” for general nouns instead of the masculine form “did not emerge as a change ‘from below,’ meaning as a progressive and generally slow expressive necessity of a considerable amount of Spanish speakers.”

He considers it to be, according to a column written on the Academy’s website, a “proposal ‘from above,’ by a middle class group that is numerically a minority that seeks to impose a specific social values on the language.”

This is the first time in Argentina that inclusive language has been recognised for academic use. The Faculty of Social Sciences has 25,000 students. 

The resolution was signed July 2 but only became public knowledge after its publication on the institution’s website. 

- TIMES/AFP/NA

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