Go back

What’s in a name?

In gendered languages, female scholars differ over their titles

When Ilaria Poggiolini became pro-rector of international relations at the University of Pavia in 2013, she began signing her emails “pro-rettore”, the male form of the term in Italian. The choice took some people by surprise. “I had a few people enter my office and look around confused,” she recalls, laughing.

But to Poggiolini, it appeared to be the least loaded term. “I wasn’t trying to be a feminist, it just seemed like the most neutral option,” she says. Seven years ago the move was an unusual one, and even in 2020 it continues to be rare in Italy, according to Poggiolini. She says she can count on one hand the women she knows who use the male form of their job title.

This article on Research Professional News is only available to Research Professional or Pivot-RP users.

Research Professional users can log in and view the article via this link

Pivot-RP users can log in and view the article via this link.