Direkt zum Inhalt

Gendered languages support indirectly prejudices against women

It´s the positive contextualization and the frequency



Prejudices against women do exist everywhere on this planet. They are significantly stronger, though, where language differentiates between men and women (gendered languages) regardless whether economic prosperity, religion or a numeric unbalance is being met in the respective culture. These are the results of a study recently published where for the first time 45 languages representing more than 50% of the world´s population have been compared and analysed.

Most essential: male terms (i.e. words with male articles) are being more positive contextualized and more frequently used where it is basically possible. The female aspect in these gendered languages is not given a serious chance. French and Russian demonstrate this phenomen „best“, German ranks in the middle range.

„How language shape prejudice against women: An examination across 45 world languages.“ DeFranza/Mishra/Mishra in: „Journal of Personality and Social Psychology“, 119 (1), S. 7-22.


From the praxis:

Language shapes culture and culture shapes language. Not to adapt anything in male oriented German is therefore fundamentally counteracting the equality of men and women. In this course due to my observations most of us consider the strategy of visualization where „in“ or „innen“ is added whereever possible as lengthy, sometimes even ridiculous when the neuter „Mitglied“ (member) becomes a female „Mitgliederin“. On the other hand the second strategy, neutralization, demands more creativity: „Mannschaft“ (workmanship) becomes „Team“ and „GeschäftsführerInnen“ (managers) is turned into „Geschäftsleitung“ (management).

Still I don´t see any alternative: who is persistently struggling to integrate half of the population into her/his language, supports a traditional mindset of society. Usually I recommend to follow both strategies given: „in“ and „innen“ wherever it is easily done, but to favor „Studierende“ over „StudentInnen“ (which in the natural gendered language English is covered by a not-gendered word only: students). Finally: please delete the word „man“ (one) out of your vocabulary. You not only contribute to the quality of gender, but make your language clearer and preciser. Since „man“ simply concerns nobody.

Wenn Sie fortfahren, nehmen wir an, dass Sie mit der Verwendung von Cookies auf dieser Webseite einverstanden sind. Weitere Informationen

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.