Gender Bias in English
Gender Bias in English
There are many gender biased languages in the world. This means that the language favors a specific gender more than another. Historically, many women lack prominence in many cultures. This has led to researches been conducted and brought about debates in recent years. Language has been one topic of discussion. In most languages, masculine words are used to describe both men and women. Research indicates that if a person speaks a language that describes men with careers heavily and women as family people, they are likely to live with a gender stereotype (Neal, 2017). Examples of languages known for gender biasness include Danish, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, and Hindi.
Many people have pointed out that English is a gender-biased language. It is known as a language that has a bias towards women. Many English speakers use gender-specific terms when referring to professions or specific people such as businessmen or waitress. Pronouns such as he, him, or his are used to generalize people. For instance, someone would say, “A pilot is careful and responsible while handling his duties”. This statement shows that women are not often thought to be found in some careers. Some prideful careers are only associated with men. Also, women are viewed as the other, while men are seen as a norm. As shown above, the gendered language illustrates a tendency of patriarchal hierarchy that has been known to exist between men and women. As a result, many women have felt excluded and invisible over the years (Zhou et al., 2019). When words such as fireman or businessman are mentioned, many people will only visualize men doing the job.
Young people and learners should be taught how to avoid using this type of language. They should grow up knowing that women can also be found in careers thought to be masculine (Neal, 2017). This way, little by little, gender bias in English will fade away.
Neal, R. S. (2017). Guide to gender-bias-Free English usage.
Zhou, P., Shi, W., Zhao, J., Huang, K., Chen, M., Cotterell, R., & Chang, K. (2019). Examining gender bias in languages with grammatical gender. Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP). https://doi.org/10.18653/v1/d19-1531