Gender Neutral Language
Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 66, No. 3, May 2002
2 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2006
Gender neutral language has become both accepted and expected. As a result, gendered language sounds parochial and out-of-date. It also risks offending readers of both sexes. This is particularly true when the language is based on stereotypical assumptions about occupations, as when the language infers that all lawyers are men or that all teachers are women.
Gendered language usually comes in one of three forms: (1) the addition of a feminine suffix to an occupation to distinguish female workers ("waitress"), (2) the use of gender-specific nouns ("mankind"), and (3) the use of gendered pronouns ("A doctor should not make his patients wait."). For each form of gendered language, the essay provides examples as well as suggested alternatives.
Keywords: gender, sex, neutral, language, legal writing
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation