France Bans Schools From Teaching Gender Neutral Words


France Bans Schools From Teaching Gender Neutral Words

France has banned schools from introducing a new gender neutral language system that has been pushed by diversity advocates.

The French language, like many others around the world, is gendered and words take on a masculine and feminine form depending on the perspective and context.

However, there has been a new campaign to make these words neutral because of the way it favours the masculine in some contexts.

A group of friends containing four women and one man would still be the masculine 'amis', despite the gender imbalance.


The diversity campaign would put what's called midpoints into the word to make 'ami.e.s' to tack on the feminine and make everyone happy.

While it wouldn't sound any different when spoken, advocates believe the gender neutrality will at least be reflected in the spelling.

However, France's education ministry has banned midpoints from being taught at schools.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said it would make spelling confusing and would create a barrier for students with learning difficulties like dyslexia.

The State Secretary for Priority Education, Nathalie Elimas, added that the diversity campaign would end up making French people want to learn the more gender neutral English.

"With the spread of inclusive writing, the English language - already quasi-hegemonic across the world - would certainly and perhaps forever defeat the French language," she said.

The 400-year-old institution responsible for guarding the French language, Academie Francaise, also believes midpoints are 'harmful to the practice and understanding of [French.]'


The same decree that banned midpoints in schools did give a small win for diversity campaigners.

It called for job titles for women to be feminised, like 'présidente' instead of 'président' to stop women from being discouraged from applying for careers that have exclusively male titles.

Gender neutral language has been a hot topic in France recently, with more than 60 MPs joining together to try and ban public servants from using genderless terms at work.

In a joint statement, the politicians said: "The advent of inclusive writing makes the learning of the French language harder, since it creates a gap between the spoken language and the written language."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, France

Stewart Perrie
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