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

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA
Journal of Vocational Behavior 01/1983; DOI: 10.1016/0001-8791(83)90036-2

ABSTRACT 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.

  • Source
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies of receivers' responses to generic words have found that adults generally develop masculine imagery for neutral words and that men do this more than women. The present investigation of school-aged children (n=471) found that they, like adults, develop sex-specific masculine imagery in response to apparently neutral messages. Early adolescents, however, reported significantly more inclusive imagery than 6–7-year-olds. Different pronoun conditions elicited different mental imagery for the receivers of the messages with he/she eliciting more of a balance between male and female images and they eliciting more inclusive imagery.
    Sex Roles 12/1989; 22(1):69-82. · 1.47 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This experiment investigated the propensity of the generic he to evoke images of males relative to he/she and the plural they. Undergraduates read sentences aloud and verbally described the images that came to mind. The results provide strong support for the hypothesis that the generic he evokes a disproportionate number of male images. Results also suggest that while the plural they functions as a generic pronoun for both males and females, males may comprehend he/she in a manner similar to he. Theoretical implications for a critique of sexist language and prescribing generic pronoun usage are considered.
    Sex Roles 11/1990; 23(11):629-643. · 1.47 Impact Factor