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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aim for Gender-Neutral Language!

  • Avoid irrelevant gender descriptions such as “lady lawyer,” “woman pilot,” or “male nurse.”
  • Use the right terms. Waiters and waitresses are servers. Stewardesses are flight attendants. Mailmen, policemen, and firemen are, respectively, mail or postal carriers, police officers, and firefighters.
  • Terms like “Girls,” and “Girl Fridays,” and "secretary" are as antiquated as typewriters. Use "assistant" or "admin."
  • Not all doctors are he's; not all nurses are she's. Use "him or her." This, however, can get clunky. Avoid the he/she or him/her problem by using plural nouns such as doctors, nurses, employees, readers, clients--words that take plural pronouns -- their and them.
  • Avoid sexist assumptions. A partner is not necessarily a wife or husband.
  • Avoid characterizing men and women in a way that is derogatory to one, such as “arrogant male” and “aggressive female.”
Here are some good resources to help you with your writing. 

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