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  1. 1. Gender-Sensitive Language this handout is aboutThis handout will explain some of the current thinking on gender issues and writing andwill provide suggestions to help you appropriately express gender relationships as youwrite.What is "gender-sensitive language" and why should I use it?English speakers and writers have traditionally been taught to use masculine nouns andpronouns in situations where the gender of their subject(s) is unclear or variable, or whena group to which they are referring contains members of both sexes. For example, the USDeclaration of Independence states that " . . . all men are created equal . . ." and most ofus were taught in elementary school to understand the word "men" in that contextincludes both male and female Americans. In recent decades, however, as women havebecome increasingly involved in the public sphere of American life, writers havereconsidered the way they express gender identities and relationships. Because mostEnglish language readers no longer understand the word "man" to be synonymous with"people," writers today must think more carefully about the ways they express gender inorder to convey their ideas clearly and accurately to their readers.Moreover, these issues are important for people concerned about issues of socialinequality. There is a relationship between our language use and our social reality. If we"erase" women from language, that makes it easier to maintain gender inequality. AsProfessor Sherryl Kleinman (2000:6) has argued,[M]ale-based generics are another indicator—and, more importantly, a reinforcer—of asystem in which "man" in the abstract and men in the flesh are privileged over women.Words matter, and our language choices have consequences. If we believe that womenand men deserve social equality, then we should think seriously about how to reflect thatbelief in our language use.If youre reading this handout, youre probably already aware that tackling gendersensitivity in your writing is no small task, especially since there isnt yet (and there maynever be) a set of concrete guidelines on which to base your decisions. Fortunately, thereare a number of different strategies the gender-savvy writer can use to express genderrelationships with precision. This handout will provide you with an overview of some ofthose strategies so that you can "mix and match" as necessary when you
  2. 2. PronounsA pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun. The English language provides pronounoptions for references to masculine nouns (for example, "he" can substitute for "Tom"),feminine nouns ("she" can replace "Lucy"), and neutral/non-human nouns ("it" stands infor "a tree"), but no choice for sex-neutral third-person singular nouns ("the writer," "astudent," or "someone"). Although most of us learned in elementary school thatmasculine pronouns (he, his, him) should be used as the "default" in situations where thereferent (that is, the person or thing to which youre referring) could be either male orfemale, that usage is generally considered unacceptable now. So what should you dowhen youre faced with one of those gender-neutral or gender-ambiguous situations?Well, youve got a few options . . .1. Use "they"This option is currently much debated by grammar experts, but most agree that it workswell in at least several kinds of situations. In order to use "they" to express accuratelygender relationships, youll need to understand that "they" is traditionally used only torefer to a plural noun. For example,Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were famous "first-wave" Americanfeminists. They were also both involved in the Abolitionist movement.In speech, though, we early twenty-first century Americans commonly use "they" to referto a singular referent. According to many grammar experts, that usage is incorrect, butheres an example of how it sounds in our everyday speech:If a student wants to learn more about gender inequality, they should take Intro toWomens Studies.Note that in this example, "a student" is singular, but it is replaced in the second sentenceby "they," a plural pronoun. In speech, we often dont notice such substitutions of theplural for the singular, but in writing, some will find such substitutions awkward orincorrect. Some people argue that "they" should become the default gender-neutralpronoun for English writing, but since that usage can still sound awkward to manyreaders, its best to use "they" only in plural situations. Thus, one other option the gender-savvy writer may choose to employ is to make her/his sentence plural. Heres one waythat can work:A students beliefs about feminism may be based on what he has heard in the popularmedia.can becomeStudents beliefs about feminism may be based on what they have heard in the popularmedia.
  3. 3. 2. Use she or he or she/he.Another, simpler option the gender-savvy writer can use to deal with situations in whichthe gender of the referent is unknown or variable is to write out both pronoun options as"she or he" or "she/he". For example,Each student who majors in Womens Studies major must take a course in FeministTheory. She or he may also get course credit for completing an internship at a localorganization that benefits women.OREach student who majors in Womens Studies major must take a course in FeministTheory. She/he may also get course credit for completing an internship at a localorganization that benefits women.3. Alternate genders and pronounsYou may also choose to alternate gendered pronouns. This option will work only incertain situations, though—usually hypothetical situations in which the referent is equallylikely to be a male or a female. For example, both male and female students use theWriting Centers services, so the author of our staff manual chose to alternate betweenmasculine and feminine pronouns when writing the following tutoring guidelines: • Respond as a reader, explaining what and how you were/are thinking as you read her texts so that she can discover where a reader might struggle with her writing. • Ask him to outline the draft to reveal the organization of the paper. • Ask her to describe her purpose and audience and show how she has taken them into account in her writing. • Explain a recurring pattern and let him locate repeated instances of it.Of course, this author could also have included both pronouns in each sentence bywriting "her/his" or "her/him," but in this case, alternating "he" and "she" conveys thesame sense of gender variability and is likely a little easier on the reader, who wont haveto pause to process several different options every time a gendered pronoun is needed inthe sentence. This example also provides a useful demonstration of how gender-savvywriters can take advantage of the many different options available by choosing the onethat best suits the unique requirements of each piece of writing they produce.4. Eliminate the pronoun altogetherFinally, you can also simply eliminate the pronoun. For example,Allan Johnson is a contemporary feminist theorist. This writer and professor gave aspeech at UNC in the fall of 2007.
  4. 4. Note how the sentence used "this writer and professor" rather than "he."Many people accept the negative stereotype that if a person is a feminist, she must hatemen.could becomeMany people accept the negative stereotype that feminist beliefs are based on hatred ofmen.Note how the second version of the sentence talks about the beliefs. By avoiding usingthe pronoun "she," it leaves open the possibility that men may be feminists.topGendered nounsLike gendered pronouns, gendered nouns can also provide a stumbling block for thegender-savvy writer. The best way to avoid implications these words can carry is simplyto be aware of how we tend to use them in speech and writing. Because gendered nounsare so commonly used and accepted by English writers and speakers, we often dontnotice them or the implications they bring with them. Once youve recognized that agender distinction is being made by such a word, though, conversion of the genderednoun into a gender-savvy one is usually very simple."Man" and words ending in "-man" are the most commonly used gendered nouns, soavoiding the confusion they bring can be as simple as watching out for these words andreplacing them with words that convey your meaning more effectively. For example, ifthe founders of America had been gender-savvy writers, they might have written " . . . allpeople are created equal" instead of " . . . all men are created equal . . .."Another common gendered expression, particularly in informal speech and writing, is"you guys." This expression is used to refer to groups of men, groups of women, andgroups that include both men and women. Although most people mean to be inclusivewhen they use "you guys," this phrase wouldnt make sense if it didnt subsume womenunder the category "guys." To see why "you guys" is gendered male, consider that "aguy" (singular) is definitely a man, not a woman, and that most men would not feelincluded in the expression "you gals" or "you girls."Another example of gendered language is the way the words "Mr.," "Miss," and "Mrs."are used. "Mr." can refer to any man, regardless of whether he is single or married—butwomen are defined by their relationship to men (by whether they are married or not). Away around this is to use "Ms." (which doesnt indicate marital status) to refer to women.Sometimes we modify nouns that refer to jobs or positions to denote the sex of the personholding that position. This often done if the sex of the person holding the position goes
  5. 5. against conventional expectations. To get a sense of these expectations, think about whatsex you would instinctively assume the subject of each of these sentences to be:The doctor walked into the room.The nurse walked into the room.Many people assume that doctors are men and that nurses are women. Because of suchassumptions, someone might write sentences like "The female doctor walked into theroom" or "The male nurse walked into the room." Using "female" and "male" in this wayreinforces the assumption that most or all doctors are male and most or all nurses arefemale. Unless the sex of the nurse or doctor is important to the meaning of the sentence,it can be omitted.As you work on becoming a gender-savvy writer, you may find it helpful to watch out forthe following gendered nouns and replace them with one of the alternatives listed below.Check a thesaurus for alternatives to gendered nouns not included in this list.gendered noun gender-neutral nounman person, individualfreshman first-year studentmankind people, human beings, humanityman-made machine-made, syntheticthe common man the average (or ordinary) personto man to operate, to cover, to staffchairman chair, chairperson, coordinatormailman mail carrier, letter carrier, postal workerpoliceman police officersteward, stewardess flight attendantcongressman congress person, legislator, representativeDear Sir: Dear Sir or Madam:, Dear Editor:, Dear Service Representative:, To Whom it May Concern:topProper nouns
  6. 6. Proper nouns can also give gender-savvy writers pause, but as with common nouns, it isusually very easy to use gender-neutral language once youve noticed the genderedpatterns in your own writing. And the best way to avoid any confusion in your use ofproper nouns is to use the same rules to discuss of women subjects as you already usewhen youre writing about men. In the examples below, notice how using differentconventions for references to male and female subjects suggests a difference in theamount of respect being given to individuals on the basis of their gender.1. Refer to women subjects by only their last names—just as you would do for mensubjects.For example, we would never refer to William Shakespeare as just "William;" we callhim "Shakespeare" or "William Shakespeare." Thus, you should never refer to JaneAusten simply as "Jane;" you should write "Jane Austen" or "Austen."2. In circumstances where youre writing about several people who have the same lastname, try using the full name of the person every time you refer to him/her.For example, if youre writing about George and Martha Washington, referring to him as"Washington" and her as "Martha" conveys a greater respect for him than for her. Inorder to express an equal amount of respect for these two historical figures, simply referto each subject by her/his full name: "George Washington" and "Martha Washington."This option may sound like it could get too wordy, but it actually works very well in mostsituations.3. Refer to women subjects by their full titles, just as you would refer to men subjects.For example, you wouldnt call American President Reagan "Ronald," so you wouldntwant to refer to British Prime Minister Thatcher as "Margaret." Simply call her "PrimeMinister Thatcher," just as you would write "President Reagan" to refer to him.topChecklist for gender revisionsTo ensure that youve used gender savvy language in your piece of writing, try askingyourself the following questions: 1. Have you used "man" or "men" or words containing one of them to refer to people who may be female? If so, consider substituting another word. For example, instead of "fireman," try "firefighter." 2. If you have mentioned someones gender, was it necessary to do so? If you identify someone as a female architect, for example, do you (or would you) refer to someone else as a "male architect"? And if you then note that the woman is an attractive blonde mother of two, do you mention that the man is a muscular, square-jawed father of three? Unless gender and related matters—looks, clothes, parenthood—are relevant to your point, leave them unmentioned.
  7. 7. 3. Do you use any occupational stereotypes? Watch for the use of female pronouns for elementary school teachers and male ones for scientists, for example. 4. Do you use language that in any way shows a lack of respect for either sex? 5. Have you used "he," "him," "his," or "himself" to refer to people who may be female?topWorks consultedWe consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. This is not acomprehensive list of resources on the handouts topic, and we encourage you to do yourown research to find the latest publications on this topic. Please do not use this list as amodel for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style youare using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citationtutorial.Harris, Muriel. Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage. 3rd Ed. UpperSaddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.Kleinman, Sherryl. (September, 2000). Why sexist language matters. The Center Line, anewsletter of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, pp. 6-7.Kolln, Martha. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 2nd Ed.Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Connors. The St. Martins Handbook. 3rd Ed. New York:St. Martins Press, 1991.topSociological gender identity is the gender a person self-identifies as. The concept of being a woman isconsidered to have more challenges, due to society not only viewing women as a socialcategory but also as a felt sense of self, a culturally conditioned or constructed subjectiveidentity.[16] The term "woman" has chronically been used as a reference to and for thefemale body; this usage has been viewed as controversial by feminists, in the definementof "woman". There are qualitative analyses that explore and present the representations ofgender; feminists challenge the dominant ideologies concerning gender roles and sex.Social identity refers to the common identification with a collectivity or social categorywhich creates a common culture among participants concerned.[17] According to socialidentity theory,[18] an important component of the self-concept is derived frommemberships in social groups and categories; this is demonstrated by group processes
  8. 8. and how inter-group relationships impact significantly on individuals self perception andbehaviors. The groups to which people belong will therefore provide their members withthe definition of who they are and how they should behave in the social sphere.[19]Categorizing males and females into social roles creates binaries, in which individualsfeel they have to be at one end of a linear spectrum and must identify themselves as manor woman. Globally, communities interpret biological differences between men andwomen to create a set of social expectations that define the behaviors that are"appropriate" for men and women and determine women’s and men’s different access torights, resources, and power in society. Although the specific nature and degree of thesedifferences vary from one society to the next, they typically favor men, creating animbalance in power and gender inequalities in all countries.[20]Western philosopher Michel Foucault claimed that as sexual subjects, humans are theobject of power, which is not an institution or structure, rather it is a signifier or nameattributed to "complex strategical situation".[21] Because of this, "power" is whatdetermines individual attributes, behaviors, etc. and people are a part of an ontologicallyand epistemologically constructed set of names and labels. Such as, being femalecharacterizes one as a woman, and being a woman signifies one as weak, emotional, andirrational, and is incapable of actions attributed to a "man". Judith Butler said gender andsex are more like verbs than nouns. She reasoned that her actions are limited. "I am notpermitted to construct my gender and sex willy-nilly," she said. "[This] is so becausegender is politically and therefore socially controlled. Rather than woman beingsomething one is, it is something one does."[22] There are more recent criticisms of JudithButlers theories which critique her writing for reinforcing the very conventionaldichotomies of gender.[23][edit] Social assignment and idea of fluidityGender can have ambiguity and fluidity. [24] There are two contrasting ideas regarding thedefinition of gender, and the intersection of both of them is definable as below:Gender is the result of socially constructed ideas about the behavior, actions, and roles aparticular sex performs. The beliefs, values and attitude taken up and exhibited by them isas per the agreeable norms of the society and the personal opinions of the person is nottaken into the primary consideration of assignment of gender and imposition of genderroles as per the assigned gender. Intersections and crossing of the prescribed boundarieshave no place in the arena of the social construct of the term "gender".The assignment of gender involves taking into account the physiological and biologicalattributes assigned by nature followed by the imposition of the socially constructedconduct. The social label of being classified into one or the other sex is obligatory to themedical stamp on the birth certificate. The cultural traits typically coupled to a particularsex finalize the assignment of gender and the biological differences which play a role inclassifying either sex is interchangeable with the definition of gender within the socialcontext.
  9. 9. In this context, the socially constructed rules are at a cross road with the assignment of aparticular gender to a person. Gender ambiguity deals with having the freedom tochoose,manipulate and create a personal niche within any defined socially constructedcode of conduct while gender fluidity is outlawing all the rules of cultural genderassignment. It does not accept the prevalence of two rigidly defined genders "Female andMale" and believes in freedom to choose any kind of gender with no rules, no definedboundaries and no fulfilling of expectations associated with any particular gender.Both these definitions are facing opposite directionalities with their own defined set ofrules and criteria on which the said systems are based.[edit] Social categoriesMary Frith ("Moll Cutpurse") scandalised 17th century society by wearing male clothing,smoking in public, and otherwise defying gender roles.Sexologist John Money coined the term gender role in 1955. "The term gender role isused to signify all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself ashaving the status of boy or man, girl or woman, respectively. It includes, but is notrestricted to, sexuality in the sense of eroticism."[25] Elements of such a role includeclothing, speech patterns, movement, occupations, and other factors not limited tobiological sex. Because social aspects of gender can normally be presumed to be the onesof interest in sociology and closely related disciplines, gender role is often abbreviated togender in their literature.
  10. 10. "Rosie the Riveter" was an iconic symbol of the American homefront in WWII and adeparture from gender roles due to wartime necessity.Most societies have only two distinct, broad classes of gender roles—masculine andfeminine—and these correspond with biological sexes male and female. However, somesocieties explicitly incorporate people who adopt the gender role opposite to theirbiological sex, for example the Two-Spirit people of some indigenous American peoples.Other societies include well-developed roles that are explicitly considered more or lessdistinct from archetypal female and male roles in those societies. In the language of thesociology of gender they comprise a third gender,[26] more or less distinct from biologicalsex (sometimes the basis for the role does include intersexuality or incorporates eunuchs).[27] One such gender role is that adopted by the hijras of India and Pakistan.[28][29] Anotherexample may be the Muxe (pronounced [ˈmuʃe]), found in the state of Oaxaca, insouthern Mexico, "beyond gay and straight."[30]The Bugis people of Sulawesi, Indonesia have a tradition incorporating all of the featuresabove.[31] Joan Roughgarden argues that in some non-human animal species, there canalso be said to be more than two genders, in that there might be multiple templates forbehavior available to individual organisms with a given biological sex.[32][edit] Feminism and gender studies The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (September 2009)The philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir applied existentialism to womensexperience of life: "One is not born a woman, one becomes one."[33] In context, this is aphilosophical statement. However, it may be analyzed in terms of biology — a girl mustpass puberty to become a woman — and sociology, as a great deal of mature relating insocial contexts is learned rather than instinctive.[citation needed]Within feminist theory, terminology for gender issues developed over the 1970s. In the1974 edition of Masculine/Feminine or Human, the author uses "innate gender" and"learned sex roles",[34] but in the 1978 edition, the use of sex and gender is reversed.[35] By
  11. 11. 1980, most feminist writings had agreed on using gender only for socioculturally adaptedtraits.In gender studies the term gender is used to refer to proposed social and culturalconstructions of masculinities and femininities. In this context, gender explicitly excludesreference to biological differences, to focus on cultural differences.[36] This emerged froma number of different areas: in sociology during the 1950s; from the theories of thepsychoanalyst Jacques Lacan; and in the work of French psychoanalysts like JuliaKristeva, Luce Irigaray, and American feminists such as Judith Butler. Those whofollowed Butler came to regard gender roles as a practice, sometimes referred to as"performative".[37]Hurst states that some people think sex will “automatically determine one’s genderdemeanor and role (social) as well as one’s sexual orientation (sexual attractions andbehavior).”[38] Gender sociologists believe that people have cultural origins and habits fordealing with gender. For example, Michael Schwalbe believes that humans must betaught how to act appropriately in their designated gender in order to properly fill the roleand that the way people behave as masculine or feminine interacts with socialexpectations. Schwalbe comments that humans "are the results of many peopleembracing and acting on similar ideas".[39] People do this through everything fromclothing and hairstyle to relationship and employment choices. Schwalbe believes thatthese distinctions are important, because society wants to identify and categorize peopleas soon as we see them. They need to place people into distinct categories in order toknow how we should feel about them.Hurst comments that in a society where we present our genders so distinctly, there canoften be severe consequences for breaking these cultural norms. Many of theseconsequences are rooted in discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gays and lesbiansare often discriminated against in our legal system due to societal prejudices.[citation needed]Hurst describes how this discrimination works against people for breaking gender norms,no matter what their sexual orientation is. He says that "courts often confuse sex, gender,and sexual orientation, and confuse them in a way that results in denying the rights notonly of gays and lesbians, but also of those who do not present themselves or act in amanner traditionally expected of their sex".[38] This prejudice plays out in our legalsystem when a man or woman is judged differently because he or she does not present the"correct" gender. How people present and display their gender has consequences ineveryday life, but also in institutionalized aspects of our society.Recent critiques of feminist theory by Warren Farrell[40][41] have given broaderconsideration to findings from a ten-year study of courtship by Buss.[42] Both perspectiveson gendering are integrated in Attraction Theory, a theoretical framework developed byDr Rory Ridley-Duff illustrating how courtship and parenting obligations (rather thanmale dominance) act as a generative mechanism that produces and reproduces a range ofgender identities.[43][44]
  12. 12. [edit] Society and behaviorsMany of the more complicated human behaviors are influenced by both innate factorsand by environmental ones, which include everything from genes, gene expression, andbody chemistry, through diet and social pressures. A large area of research in behavioralpsychology collates evidence in an effort to discover correlations between behavior andvarious possible antecedents such as genetics, gene regulation, access to food andvitamins, culture, gender, hormones, physical and social development, and physical andsocial environments.A core research area within sociology is the way human behavior operates on itself, inother words, how the behavior of one group or individual influences the behavior of othergroups or individuals. Starting in the late 20th century, the feminist movement hascontributed extensive study of gender and theories about it, notably within sociology butnot restricted to it.Spains desperate situation when invaded by Napoleon enabled Agustina de Aragón tobreak into a closely guarded male preserve and become the only female professionalofficer in the Spanish Army of her time (and long afterwards).Social theorists have sought to determine the specific nature of gender in relation tobiological sex and sexuality,[citation needed] with the result being that culturally establishedgender and sex have become interchangeable identifications which signify the allocationof a specific biological sex within a categorical gender.[citation needed] The second wavefeminist view that gender is socially constructed and hegemonic in all societies, remainscurrent in some literary theoretical circles, Kira Hall and Mary Bucholtz publishing newperspectives as recently as 2008.[69]Contemporary socialisation theory proposes the notion that when a child is first born ithas a biological sex but no social gender.[citation needed] As the child grows, "society providesa string of prescriptions, templates, or models of behaviors appropriate to the one sex orthe other"[70] which socialises the child into belonging to a culturally specific gender.[citationneeded] There is huge incentive for a child to concede to their socialisation[citation needed] withgender shaping the individual’s opportunities for education, work, family, sexuality,reproduction, authority,[citation needed] and to make an impact on the production of culture and
  13. 13. knowledge.[71] Adults who do not perform these ascribed roles are perceived from thisperspective as deviant and improperly socialised.[72]Some believe society is constructed in a way in which gender is split into a dichotomy bysocial organisations which constantly invent and reproduce cultural images of gender.Joan Ackner (The Gendered Society Reader) believes gendering occurs in at least fivedifferent interacting social processes:[73] • The construction of divisions along the lines of gender, such as those which are produced by labor, power, family, the state, even allowed behaviors and locations in physical space • The construction of symbols and images such as language, ideology, dress and the media, that explain, express and reinforce, or sometimes oppose, those divisions • Interactions between men and women, women and women and men and men which involve any form of dominance and submission. Conversational theorists, for example, have studied the way in which interruptions, turn taking and the setting of topics re-create gender inequality in the flow of ordinary talk • The way in which the preceding three processes help to produce gendered components of individual identity. i.e. the way in which they create and maintain an image of a gendered self • Gender is implicated in the fundamental, ongoing processes of creating and conceptualising social structures.Looking at gender through a Foucauldian lens, gender is transfigured into a vehicle forthe social division of power.[citation needed] Gender difference is merely a construct of societyused to enforce the distinctions made between that which is assumed to be female andmale,[citation needed] and allow for the domination of masculinity over femininity through theattribution of specific gender-related characteristics.[citation needed] "The idea that men andwomen are more different from one another than either is from anything else, must comefrom something other than nature… far from being an expression of natural differences,exclusive gender identity is the suppression of natural similarities."[74]Gender conventions play a large role in attributing masculine and feminine characteristicsto a fundamental biological sex.[citation needed] Socio-cultural codes and conventions, the rulesby which society functions, and which are both a creation of society as well as aconstituting element of it, determine the allocation of these specific traits to the sexes.These traits provide the foundations for the creation of hegemonic gender difference. Itfollows then, that gender can be assumed as the acquisition and internalisation of socialnorms. Individuals are therefore socialised through their receipt of society’s expectationsof ‘acceptable’ gender attributes which are flaunted within institutions such as the family,the state and the media. Such a notion of ‘gender’ then becomes naturalised into aperson’s sense of self or identity, effectively imposing a gendered social category upon asexed body.[75]The conception that people are gendered rather than sexed also coincides with JudithButler’s theories of gender performativity. Butler argues that gender is not an expression
  14. 14. of what one is, but rather something that one does.[76] It follows then, that if gender isacted out in a repetitive manner it is in fact re-creating and effectively embedding itselfwithin the social consciousness. Contemporary sociological reference to male and femalegender roles typically uses masculinities and femininities in the plural rather thansingular, suggesting diversity both within cultures as well as across them.From the evidence, it can only be concluded that gender is socially constructed and eachindividual is unique in their gender characteristics, regardless of which biological sexthey are as every child is socialised to behave a certain way and have the ‘proper’ genderattributes. If individuals in society do not conform to this pressure, they are destined to betreated as abnormal; therefore it is personally greatly beneficial for them to cooperate inthe determined ‘correct’ ordering of the world. In fact, the very construct of society is aproduct of and produces gender norms. There is bias in applying the word ‘gender’ toanyone in a finite way; rather each person is endowed with certain gender characteristics.The world cannot be egalitarian while there are ‘assigned’ genders and individuals arenot given the right to express any gender characteristic they desire.[edit] Gender and developmentGender, and particularly the role of women is widely recognized as vitally important tointernational development issues.[citation needed] This often means a focus on gender-equality,ensuring participation, but includes an understanding of the different roles andexpectation of the genders within the community. [citation needed]The Overseas Development Institute has highlighted that policy dialogue on theMillennium Development Goals needs to recognise that the gender dynamics of power,poverty, vulnerability and care link all the goals.[78]As well as directly addressing inequality, attention to gender issues is regarded asimportant to the success of development programs, for all participants.[citation needed] Forexample, in microfinance it is common to target women, as besides the fact that womentend to be over-represented in the poorest segments of the population, they are alsoregarded as more reliable at repaying the loans.[citation needed]Some organizations working in developing countries and in the development field haveincorporated advocacy and empowerment for women into their work. The United NationsFood and Agriculture Organization adopted in November 2009 a 10-year strategicframework that includes the strategic objective of gender equity in access to resources,goods, services and decision-making in rural areas, and mainstreams gender equity in allFAOs programmes for agriculture and rural development.[79] The Association forProgressive Communications (APC) has developed a Gender Evaluation Methodologyfor planning and evaluating development projects to ensure they benefit all sectors ofsociety including women.[80]
  15. 15. The Gender-related Development Index (GDI), developed by the United Nations (UN),aims to show the inequalities between men and women in the following areas: long andhealthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. [edit] SpiritualityFurther information: Gender and religionyin and yangIn Taoism, yin and yang are considered feminine and masculine, respectively:yin and yang semantics Tao semantic lightness sunyang sunshine god heaven darkness darkyin ghost hill
  16. 16. [edit] LinguisticsMain article: Grammatical genderNatural languages often make gender distinctions. These may be of various kinds. • Grammatical gender is a property of some languages in which every noun is assigned a gender, often with no direct relation to its meaning. For example, the word for "girl" is muchacha (grammatically feminine) in Spanish, Mädchen (grammatically neuter) in German, and cailín (grammatically masculine) in Irish. • The term “grammatical gender” is often applied to more complex noun class systems. This is especially true when a noun class system includes masculine and feminine as well as some other non-gender features like animate, edible, manufactured, and so forth. An example of the latter is found in the Dyirbal language. A system traditionally called “gender” is found in the Ojibwe language which distinguishes between animate and inanimate, but since this does not exhibit a masculine/feminine distinction it might be better described by “noun class”. Likewise, Sumerian distinguishes between personal (human and divine) and impersonal (all other) noun classes, but these classes have traditionally been known as genders. • Several languages attest the use of different vocabulary by men and women, to differing degrees. See, for instance, Gender differences in spoken Japanese. The oldest documented language, Sumerian, records a distinctive sub-language only used by female speakers. Conversely, many Indigenous Australian languages have distinctive registers with limited lexis used by men in the presence of their mothers-in-law (see Avoidance speech). • Most languages include terms that are used asymmetrically in reference to men and women. Concern that current language may be biased in favor of men has led some authors in recent times to argue for the use of a more Gender-neutral vocabulary in English and other languages. • [[edit] References[edit] Footnotes 1. ^ For example, the definition and use of the term in G. Argyrous and Frank Stilwell, Economics as a Social Science: Readings in Political Economy, 2nd ed., (Pluto Press, 2003), in the feminist economics section, pages 238-243, especially pages 233 and 234. 2. ^ "What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 3. ^ Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Men and Women (New York: Basic Books, 1992), 8.
  17. 17. 4. ^ "In the Teutonic word, as in Latin genus and Greek γένος three main senses appear, (1) race or stock, (2) class or kind, (3) gender or sex ; the last, found in OE. and early ME., but not later, is the only sense in mod. Du., Da., and Sw." kin, in Oxford English Dictionary.5. ^ Julius Pokorny, gen, in Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, (Bern: Francke, 1959, reprinted in 1989), pp. 373-75.6. ^ genə-, in Appendix I: Indo-European Roots, to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000).7. ^ Your, Gen, reformatted from AHD.8. ^ A fourth rule is to observe Protagoras classification of nouns into male, female and inanimate. —Aristotle9. ^ Fowlers Modern English Usage, 1926: p. 211.10. ^ Usage note: Gender, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, (2000).11. ^ a b David Haig, The Inexorable Rise of Gender and the Decline of Sex: Social Change in Academic Titles, 1945–2001, Archives of Sexual Behavior 33 (2004): 87–96. Online at PubMed and Questia.12. ^ "People defaulting on bank loans? Use eunuchs to recover: Pak SC". The Economic Times (Bennett Coleman). December 24, 2009. defaulting-on-bank-loans-Use-eunuchs-to-recover-Pak- SC/articleshow/5370938.cms. Retrieved 2009-12-23.13. ^ Masood, Salman (December 23, 2009). "Pakistan: A Legal Victory for Eunuchs". The New York Times. ALEGALVICTOR_BRF.html. Retrieved 2009-12-23.14. ^ See translation of Judith Butlers Gender Trouble15. ^ distinguishes16. ^ Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Thinking Gender. New York & London: Routledge, 199017. ^ Snow, D.A. and Oliver, P.E. (1995). "Social Movements and Collective Behavior: Social Psychological Dimensions and Considerations." In Karen Cook, Gary A.Fine, and James S.House (eds) Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology, pp.571-600. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.18. ^ Taifel, H. & Turner, J.C. (1986). The social identity of intergroup relations. In S. Worchel & W.G. Austin (eds), The psychology of intergroup relations, pp.7- 24. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.19. ^ Terry, D.J., Hogg, M.A. (1996). Group norms and the attitude-behavior relationship: A role for group identification. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 776-793.
  18. 18. 20. ^ Winnie Byanyimas sabbatical period at the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town : narrative report.http://idl-,2005.21. ^ Tong, Rosemarie.Feminist thought : a more comprehensive introduction / Rosemarie Tong.Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 2009.22. ^ Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Thinking Gender. New York & London: Routledge, 1990.23. ^ Vigo, Julian. The Body in Gender Discourse: The Fragmentary Space of the Feminine. La femme et l’écriture. Meknès, Maroc, 1996.24. ^ Gender Outlaw - On Men, Women and the rest of us, pg. 51-5225. ^ John Money, "Hermaphroditism, gender and precocity in hyperadrenocorticism: Psychologic findings, Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital 96 (1955): 253– 264.26. ^ Gilbert Herdt (ed.), Third Sex Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, 1996. ISBN 0942299825. OCLC 35293440.27. ^ Will Roscoe, Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America, Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. ISBN 0-312-22479-628. ^ Nanda, Serena (1998). Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India. Wadsworth Publishing. ISBN 0-534-50903-729. ^ Reddy, Gayatri (2005). With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. (Worlds of Desire: The Chicago Series on Sexuality, Gender, and Culture), University Of Chicago Press (July 1, 2005). ISBN 0-226-70756-330. ^ "A lifestyle distinct: the Muxe of Mexico," New York Times, December 6, 2008 [1].31. ^ Sharyn Graham, Sulawesis Fifth Gender, Inside Indonesia April-June, 2001.32. ^ Joan Roughgarden, Evolutions Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, University of California Press, 2004. ISBN 0-520-24073-133. ^ Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949, as translated and reprinted 1989."34. ^ Chafetz, JS. Masculine/Feminine or Human? An Overview of the Sociology of Sex Roles. Itasca, Illinois: F. E. Peacock, 1974.35. ^ Chafetz, JS. Masculine/Feminine or Human? An Overview of the Sociology of Sex Roles. Itasca, Illinois: F. E. Peacock, 1978.36. ^ Stephanie Garrett, Gender, (1992), p. vii.37. ^ Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, (1999), p. 9.38. ^ a b [Hurst, C. Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences. Sixth Edition. 2007. 131, 139-142]39. ^ [Schwalbe, M. The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation Third Edition. 2005. 22-23]40. ^ Farrell, W. (1988) Why Men Are The Way They Are, New York: Berkley Books.41. ^ Farrell, W. & Sterba, J (2008) Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? A Debate, Oxford University Press42. ^ Buss, D.M. (2002) Human mating strategies. Samdunfsokonemen, 4: 48-58.43. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2008) "Gendering, Courtship and Pay Equality: Developing Attraction Theory to Understand Work-Life Balance and Entrepreneurial Behaviour", paper to the 31st ISBE Conference, 5th-7th November, Belfast
  19. 19. 44. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2007) Emotion, Seduction and Intimacy: Alternative Perspectives on Organisation Behaviour, Bracknell: Mens Hour Books, ISBN 978-0-9754300-1-945. ^ John Money, The concept of gender identity disorder in childhood and adolescence after 39 years, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 20 (1994): 163- 77.46. ^ A Aron and LL Brown, Romantic Love: A Mammalian Brain System for Mate Choice, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 361 (2006): 2173–2186.47. ^ David M Buss, The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy is as Necessary as Love and Sex, (New York: Free Press, 2000. ISBN 0684850818. OCLC 42921362.48. ^ David M Buss, Human nature and culture: An evolutionary psychological perspective. Journal of Personality 69 (2001): 955-978.49. ^ White, GL and PE Mullen, Jealousy: Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice, (New York, NY: Guilford Press, 1989). ISBN 0898623855. OCLC 19589484.50. ^ Steven Goldberg, Why Men Rule, (Chicago, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1993). ISBN 0812692365. OCLC 28722362.51. ^ Michael Abrams, The Real Story on Gay Genes: Homing in on the science of homosexuality—and sexuality itself, Discover June (2007).52. ^ RedList, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources official website.53. ^ Amanda Schaffer, Pas de Deux: Why Are There Only Two Sexes?, Slate updated 27 September 2007.54. ^ Laurence D. Hurst, Why are There Only Two Sexes?, Proceedings: Biological Sciences 263 (1996): 415-42255. ^ ES Haag, Why two sexes? Sex determination in multicellular organisms and protistan mating types, Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 18 (2007): 348-9.56. ^ Patricia J. Schmidt, Wade C. Sherbrooke, Justin O. Schmidt, The Detoxification of Ant (Pogonomyrmex) Venom by a Blood Factor in Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma), Copeia 198 (1989): 603-607.57. ^ Leslie E. Orgel, The Origin of Life on the Earth, Scientific American October, 1994.58. ^ "Each independently lost the ability for sexual reproduction after diverging". Barbara H. Bowmana, Thomas J. Whitea and John W. Taylorb, "Human Pathogeneic Fungi and Their Close Nonpathogenic Relatives", Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6 (1996): 89–96.59. ^ H. Gee, JR Pickavance and JO Young, A comparative study of the population biology of the American immigrant triclad Dugesia tigrina (Girard) in two British lakes, Hydrobiologia 361 (1977): 135-143.60. ^ "The speciose insect order Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and their closest relatives, Trichoptera (caddis flies), share a female-heterogametic sex chromosome system." W. Trauta, K. Saharab, F. Marecc, "Sex Chromosomes and Sex Determination in Lepidoptera", Sexual Development 1 (2007): 332–346.
  20. 20. 61. ^ Jocelyn Selim (2005-04-25). "Sex, Ys, and Platypuses". Discover. Retrieved 2008- 05-07.62. ^ Online Mendelian Inheritance of Man, HAIRY EARS, Y-LINKED, although see HAIRY EARS.63. ^ Richard J Haier, Rex E Jung and others, The Neuroanatomy of General Intelligence: Sex Matters, NeuroImage 25 (2005): 320–327. Page 324 for cerebrum difference of 8–10%.64. ^ Michael A. McDaniel, Big-Brained People are Smarter: A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship between In Vivo Brain Volume and Intelligence, Intelligence 33 (2005): 337–346.65. ^ Richard J Haier, Rex E Jung and others, The Neuroanatomy of General Intelligence: Sex Matters, NeuroImage 25 (2005): 320–327.66. ^ Carol A. Tamminga, Brain Development, XI: Sexual Dimorphism, American Journal of Psychiatry 156 (1999): 352.67. ^ Alexandra M. Lopes and others,Inactivation status of PCDH11X: sexual dimorphisms in gene expression levels in brain, Human Genetics 119 (2006): 1– 9.68. ^ "Even when men and women do the same chores equally well, they may use different brain circuits to get the same result." Linda Marsha, He Thinks, She Thinks, Discover July (2007).69. ^ Gender Articulated. Routledge. hl=en&lr=&id=6d37lDUcLYEC&oi=fnd&pg=PP11&dq=gender+is+socially+co nstructed+and+hegemonic&ots=HUZ- mpw39q&sig=ftcExbO8hip2u1J1yTAHXML9hMI. Retrieved 2008-09-21.70. ^ Connell, R 1987, Gender & Power, Polity Press, Cambridge.71. ^ Lorber, J & Farrell, S (eds.) 1991, The Social Construction of Gender, Sage, Newbury Park.72. ^ Wearing, B 1996, Gender: The Pain and Pleasure of Difference, Longman, Melbourne.73. ^ Acker, J 2000, ‘Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations’, in M Kimmel with A Aronson (eds), The Gendered Society Reader, Oxford University Press, New York.74. ^ Glover & Kaplan, 2000, p. xxi.75. ^ Glover, D & Kaplan, C 2000, Genders, Routledge, New York.76. ^ Lloyd, M 1999, ‘Performativity, Parody, Politics’ in CULT 19016 Contemporary Modes of Culture Resource Materials, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton.77. ^ See for example ^ "Gender and the MDGS". Overseas Development Institute. September 2008. mdgs-poverty.pdf.79. ^ "Gender equity". Food and Agriculture Organization. November 2009. ^ Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM)
  21. 21. 81. ^ Chant. S. 2008. The ‘feminisation of poverty’ and the ‘feminisation’ of anti- poverty programmes: Room for revision? Journal of development studies 44(2):165-197. 82. ^ "The Male-Female Hologram," Ashok Vohra, Times of India, March 8, 2005, Page 9[edit] Notations • Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Thinking Gender. New York & London: Routledge, 1990.[edit] Further reading • Chafetz, JS. Masculine/Feminine or Human? An Overview of the Sociology of Sex Roles. Itasca, Illinois: F. E. Peacock, 1974 (1st ed.), 1978 (2nd ed.). ISBN 0875812317. OCLC 4348310. • Lepowsky, Maria. Fruit of the Motherland: Gender in an Egalitarian Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. ISBN 0231081200. OCLC 28183522. • Lerro, Bruce "Power in Eden: The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World", 2005, Trafford Publishing . ISBN 1412021413. Gender Issues in Languages The chapter “Language and Gender” that I have read explains how language can be used to discriminate against individuals and groups on the basis of their sex. This chapter also provides some helpful information, which certainly will help us teachers to recognise and avoid discriminatory practices. Using non-discriminatory language does not involve the conscious learning of a new language in order to communicate; this is due to the fact that people continually learn new words, expressions and constructions. Language is dynamic and reflects changes in society and contributes to such changes. Using non-discriminatory language is, of course, a part of this dynamic process. Broadly speaking, in most cases, using non-discriminatory language means avoiding certain expressions and selecting others that already exist in the language. Sometimes it may involve combining existing words into a new compound word. Only in exceptional cases a completely new word or expression has to be “created”. Sexist language is language that favours one sex and treats the other sex in a discriminatory manner. In many cases it favours men and goes against women. In language, men are considered the “rule” for the human species, that is to say, their characteristics, thoughts, beliefs and actions are seen as representing those of all
  22. 22. humans, male and female. This practice can make women imperceptible in languageor exclude them. The linguistic status of women often depends on the status of men.Being women in a dependent, subordinate position, sexist language prevents womenand men from being shown as equal human beings. Common forms of sexism in English include the use of “man” and “he / him / his”as generics—that is to say, nouns and pronouns referring to both men and women—the use of suffixes -man, -ette, -ess, -trix in occupational nouns and job titles,asymmetrical naming practices, and stereotyped images of women and men as well asdescriptions of (mainly) women which denigrate them and their status. It isrecommended that women should be more evident and visible in language by avoidingthe use of “male-oriented” words in the generic (generic sense) humans, human race, human beings, humanspecies, humanity, humankindorwomen and men, person(s), man andwoman, individual(s), people(s), etc. English does not possess a third person singular pronoun which is gender-neutral.Instead the “masculine” pronouns “he”, “him” and “his” are generally used to refer toboth men and women. This is confusing and inaccurate and makes women invisible.There are many ways of replacing the “he / him / his” pronouns without distorting themessage or compromising style or readability. Here are some major strategies:– recast the sentence in the plural– leave out the pronoun– repeat the noun– use he or she, she or he or in writing s/he– recast the sentence and use another pronoun, for example, you, I or we– recast the sentence to avoid pronouns In speech it is common practice (however, considered ungrammatical) to use thepronoun “they” as in: “If a student wants to get a practice test, they should come to myoffice between 2 and 4 p.m. today”. Occupational nouns and job titles ending in -man reduce the presence of women insuch professions and positions. There are various strategies for replacing -mancompounds. For example, the use of an existing gender-neutral term (police officerinstead of policeman), or of the -person alternative (layperson instead of layman) orthe explicit naming of both sexes (sportsmen and women instead of sportsmen) aresome of the possibilities. It is, of course, acceptable to use the -man compound to referto a man occupying the position if a woman in such a position is referred to by a-woman compound (spokeswoman for a woman and spokesman for a man). However,the practice of referring to a man by means of the –man compound and to a woman bymeans of the -person compound is discriminatory. Here is a list of the most frequentlyused alternatives: the alternatives marked [S] are gender-specific.
  23. 23. Avoid Alternativesbusinessman business executive, business manager, business owner, business person,entrepreneur, financier, investor, proprietor[S] businesswoman, businessman, businessmen business community, business people,[S] businessmen and businesswomencattleman cattle breeder, cattle owner, cattle producer, cattle raiser, cattle worker,farmerchairman the chair, chairperson, convener, coordinator, discussion leader, head (of) …,leader, moderator, person chairing a meeting, person in the chair, president,presiding officer[S] layman, laywomanlaymen laypeople, laypersons, lay community, laitymilkman milkdeliverer, milk supplier, milko (informal)policeman member of the police, police officer (term indicating rank)[S] policewoman, policemanpostman letter carrier, mail carrier, mail deliverer, postal delivery officer, postalworker,postie (informal)[S] postwoman, postmansalesman sales agent, sales associate, sales attendant, salesperson, sales representative,salesworker, shop assistant, shop attendant[S] salesman, saleswoman (not saleslady or sales girl)spokesman (principal) advocate, offical, representative, (person) speaking on behalf of… ,.speaker, spokesperson[S] spokesman, spokeswomansportsman athlete, player, sports competitor, sportsperson[S] sportswoman, sportsmanDo not use weathergirl if the forecaster is a woman.workman worker, employee, working person Occupational nouns and job titles, which refer exclusively to women, should also beavoided. Often these have been derived from male job titles by adding such suffixes as-ette, -ess and -trix. This practice reinforces the view that womens status is dependenton, or derived from, that of men. Job titles like “girl friday” and “salesgirl” trivialisethe work women do.Avoid Alternativescleaning lady / woman cleaner (house cleaner, office cleaner)camera girl camera operator (see also cameraman for other alternatives)career girl professional, executive (or be specific about the profession)matron (nursing) director of nursingactress actor
  24. 24. comedienne comedianmanageress managerpoetess poetwaitress waiter