‘Flair, ‘Brilliance’, ‘Genius’ Are Sexist Terms: Cambridge University

Examiners at the prestigious Cambridge University have been asked to avoid using these terms while assessing students' work


Examiners at the UK’s prestigious Cambridge University have been asked to avoid using the words “flair”, “brilliance” and “genius” when assessing students’ work because they “carry assumptions of gender inequality”.

Lucy Delap, a lecturer in British History, told The Telegraph: “Some of those words, in particular genius, have a very long intellectual history where it has long been associated with qualities culturally assumed to be male.

madame curie

Doesn’t this mean we automatically assume high intellect or talent to be female? Would you not describe Marie Curie as a “genius” or Jane Austen to have a “flair” for writing? Or are these terms reserved exclusively for Einstein and Ernest Hemingway?

Dr Delap, who ironically specialises in gender history, said one of the reasons why men get more first-class degrees than women is because female students struggle with the “male-dominated environment”.

She also says the terms ‘flair’, ‘brilliance’ and ‘genius’ carry assumptions of class and ethnicity.

Dr Delap said she wanted to use language that was more “transparent” and root out these “unhelpful” terms.


She said that the History department was rewriting their first two years of our History degree to create a wider set of paper choices “to make assessment criteria clearer”.

Other faculty members have criticised the decision saying it implies that women are the weaker sex.

We are waiting for a list of gender-neutral terms for talent and high intellect from Dr Delap.

Cardiff Metropolitan University Image:http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk
Cardiff Metropolitan University

This isn’t the first time a top university has gone to extreme lengths in an effort to promote gender equality. The Cardiff Metropolitan University had banned all terms with ‘man’ in their ‘Code of Practice on using Inclusive Language’. They had come up with a full list of terms and their suggested alternatives.

‘Patronising and pitying language’ language should be avoided says the University policy. “‘Older people’ is a much better term than ‘the elderly’” and “‘Wheelchair user’ is empowering whereas ‘wheelchair bound’ is quite the opposite”.

Academics and professors had labelled this policy as ‘authoritarian’, “unnecessary” and censorship on free speech.