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Reducing a Male Bias in Language?: Establishing the Efficiency of Three Different Gender-Fair Language Strategies
Lund University.
Gothenburg University.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5398-2894
2019 (English)In: Sex Roles, ISSN 0360-0025, E-ISSN 1573-2762, Vol. 1, no 1-2, p. 109-117Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different strategies of gender-fair language have been applied to reduce a male bias, which means the implicit belief that a word describing an undefined person describes a man. This male bias might be caused by the words themselves in terms of generic masculine or masculine forms or by androcentrism (the conflation of men with humanity). In two experiments, we tested how different gender-fair strategies used as labels of an unknown social target (an applicant in a recruitment situation) could eliminate the male bias. The three types of gender-fair strategies tested were: (a) paired forms (he/she), (b) traditional neutral words (e.g., singular they, “the applicant”), or (c) gender-neutral third-person pronouns actively created to challenge the binary gender system (ze, Swedish hen). The two experiments were performed in Swedish with 417 undergraduates in Sweden and in English with 411 U.S. participants recruited online. In Swedish, the third-person gender-neutral pronoun singular (hen) was used. In English, several forms of such gender-neutral pronouns have been suggested (e.g., ze). In both experiments, results indicated that paired forms and actively created gender-neutral pronouns eliminated the male bias, whereas traditional neutral words contained a male bias. Thus, gender-fair language strategies should avoid using traditional words. Consequences of using paired forms and creating new gender-neutral words are discussed. We argue that an actively created gender-neutral pronoun is of highest value because it is more inclusive. © 2018, The Author(s).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. Vol. 1, no 1-2, p. 109-117
Keywords [en]
Androcentrism, Gender, Gender identity, Gender-fair language, Gender-inequality, Gender-neutral pronouns, Gender-studies, Grammatical gender, Language & languages, Male bias, Masculinity, Non-sexist language, Sexism in language, adult, article, female, hen, human, human experiment, language, male, nonhuman, sexism, Sweden
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-36740DOI: 10.1007/s11199-018-0974-9ISI: 000471202100009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85055549391OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-36740DiVA, id: diva2:1262652
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2017–00418Swedish Research Council, 2014–1150Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P16–0058:1Available from: 2018-11-12 Created: 2018-11-12 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson Sendén, Marie

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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