Sexist language in occupational information: Does it make a difference?

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA
Journal of Vocational Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.59). 10/1983; 23(2):227-232. DOI: 10.1016/0001-8791(83)90036-2


While several guidelines for avoiding sexist language in career materials have been published, little empirical evidence exists to support the assumption that sexist language in career information has deleterious effects on clients. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of sex-biased language in occupational information on subject interest and attitudes regarding gender appropriateness of occupations. Eighth-grade students read occupational briefs on two occupations presented in either neutral, female-biased, or male-biased language. Results showed a nonsignificant language effect and a significant sex difference in interest in the occupations. A significant three-way interaction (language by subject sex by occupation) was found for gender-appropriateness ratings. The findings, together with previous research, suggest that language may have little impact on specific occupational interests, but may affect other career attitudes related to interests.

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