The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) has just released a new report tracking and evaluating the efforts of schools, from kindergarten to colleges and universities, to prohibit discrimination and promote awareness of gender identity and gender expressions in their official policies. The second of its kind, the 2007 GENIUS (Gender Equality National Index for Universities and Schools) Index examines non-discrimination policies, gender-neutral bathrooms and housing, and anti-harassment policies.
According to the report, a growing number of schools are implementing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies that include gender. In 2006, 131 colleges and universities specifically banned discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Today, that number has grown to 147 — including all eight Ivy League schools. GenderPAC also reports that two-thirds of the nation’s top 25 universities (according to US News and World Report) have non-discrimination policies that include gender-based discrimination. Additionally, more than 100 school districts, which cover some 3.5 million students in kindergarten through high school in 23 states, have similar protections.
GenderPAC Executive Director Riki Wilchins said of the findings, “We applaud the new schools in GENIUS 2007 that stepped up to ensure a new kind of student equality. We are proud that there are more gender-based protections for all students at schools across the country. At the same time, GenderPAC urges and expects that schools will implement policies to ensure that their campuses are’ supportive, protective, and equitable for all students, whether or not they fit expectations for masculinity or femininity.”
According to other recent GenderPAC surveys, 30 percent of college and university students reported that they have been harassed or discriminated against on campus and 25 percent have felt unsafe in campus housing because of their perceived femininity or masculinity.