I'm absolutely swamped at the moment, so this will be brief, but today I attended a training session conducted mostly by Cheryl Glenn, a professor from Penn State. Dr. Glenn is best known for her work with education and rhetoric, which is what she discussed today (The training session was for graduate students who are teaching college-level writing at Brigham Young University). But Dr. Glenn also has a background in Women's Studies. This background didn't come up in today's lecture (which was amazing, by the way), but I noticed right away that she referred to the female grad students in the room as "women." I don't always notice whether BYU professors call female students women, sisters, ladies, or girls, but I know from the times that I have paid attention that BYU professors are much more likely to refer to male students as "men" than female students as "women." I'm sure there are many factors feeding into this linguistic practice, but the point is - Cheryl Glenn did the exact opposite. She never once used the word "girl" or "gal" to refer to a female grad student; she always said "woman." But she also never used the word "man" or "gentleman" to refer to a male student - she referred to each of them as a "guy."
I wanted to know why she was doing that more than anything else, but I was too afraid to ask. She did encourage us to email her though, so I might just have to do that.