Posted on: October 10th 2023

Inspiring Guest Lecturer: Ms Maria Giovanardi

LAE was honoured to host Ms Maria Beatrice Giovanardi* as guest lecturer in early October.

Attended by Year 12 students as well as members of GEN (the Gender Equality Network), Year 13 Psychology and Italian A-level students, Ms. Giovanardi's lecture created awareness about language bias, promoting consideration of inclusive linguistics.  Students were inspired to consider how language can shape perceptions and affect the psychology of individuals and groups. The lecture served to provide a real-world context for their studies and demonstrated the practical implications of academic pursuits in addressing pressing societal issues.

Students developed a deeper understanding of language and gender equality and for Italian A Level students specifically, this lecture provided a unique opportunity to connect the themes of language bias and gender equality to the Family and Cultural Society curriculum, exploring the influence of language on cultural values, norms, and family dynamics in Italian society.

Students were engaged throughout this inspiring lecture asking questions about how the younger generation can implement changes in their surroundings to reduce the occurrence of gender-based issues; about cautions for young people involved in political activities online and how social media impacts activism.

Ms. Giovanardi's advocacy for gender equality and her status as a cosmopolitan advocate served as an inspiration for students in their quest to become global citizens, aligning strongly with LAE's educational goal to nurture responsible, globally aware individuals who can contribute positively to a diverse and interconnected world.

Following the event, GEN students were able to engage privately in candid discussion with Ms Giovanardi and we are greatly appreciative of the extra time she devoted to extremely engaged LAE students.

* Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, an Italian activist, is renowned for her petition to Oxford University Press, which sought to amend the definition of the word "woman" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Her campaign was driven by the concern that derogatory examples of the term were excessively prominent and widespread and changes made by the Oxford Dictionary were intended to emphasize the active voice of women, rather than merely portraying them as passive reflections of men.

Maria's campaign was geared towards a broader revision of the dictionary's definition to make it more inclusive and representative of the various gender identities, with particular attention given to acknowledging transgender and non-binary individuals. Her efforts gained significant attention and support on social media and in the wider community. Her advocacy highlighted the importance of language in shaping societal perceptions and norms, especially regarding gender and identity.