Side effects of gender-fair language: How feminine job titles influence the evaluation of female applicants
Article first published online: 17 DEC 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 43, Issue 1, pages 62–71, February 2013
How to Cite
Formanowicz, M., Bedynska, S., Cisłak, A., Braun, F. and Sczesny, S. (2013), Side effects of gender-fair language: How feminine job titles influence the evaluation of female applicants. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 43: 62–71. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1924
- Issue published online: 29 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 17 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 18 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 14 MAR 2012
In many languages, feminization has been used as a strategy to make language more gender-fair, because masculine terms, even in a generic function, exhibit a male bias. Up to date, little is known about possible side effects of this language use, for example, in personnel selection. In three studies, conducted in Polish, we analyzed how a female applicant was evaluated in a recruitment process, depending on whether she was introduced with a feminine or masculine job title. To avoid influences from existing occupations and terms, we used fictitious job titles in Studies 1 and 2: diarolożka (feminine) and diarolog (masculine). In Study 3, we referred to existing occupations that varied in gender stereotypicality. In all studies, female applicants with a feminine job title were evaluated less favorably than both a male applicant (Study 1) and a female applicant with a masculine job title (Studies 1, 2, and 3). This effect was independent of the gender stereotypicality of the occupation (Study 3). Participants' political attitudes, however, moderated the effect: Conservatives devaluated female applicants with a feminine title more than liberals (Studies 2 and 3). Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.