How Fair is Gender-Fair Language? Insights from Gender Ratio Estimations in French - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Language and Social Psychology Year : 2022

How Fair is Gender-Fair Language? Insights from Gender Ratio Estimations in French

Abstract

Heated societal debates in various countries concern the use of gender-fair language, meant to replace the generic use of grammatically masculine forms. Advocates and opponents of gender-fair language disagree onamong other thingsthe question of whether masculine forms leave women underrepresented in people's minds. We investigated the influence of linguistic form on the mental representations of gender in French. Participants read a short text about a professional gathering and estimated the percentages of men and women present at the gathering. Results showed higher estimates of the percentage of women in response to two gender-fair forms relative to the masculine form. Comparisons with normed data on people's perception of real-world gender ratios additionally showed that the gender-fair forms removed or reduced a male bias for neutral-and female-stereotyped professions, respectively, yet induced a female bias for male-stereotyped professions. Thus, gender-fair language increases the prominence of women in the mind, but has varying effects on consistency, i.e., the match with default perceptions of real-world gender ratios.
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Dates and versions

hal-03841973 , version 1 (07-11-2022)

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Hualin Xiao, Brent Strickland, Sharon Peperkamp. How Fair is Gender-Fair Language? Insights from Gender Ratio Estimations in French. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 2022, 42 (1), ⟨10.1177/0261927x221084643⟩. ⟨hal-03841973⟩
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