Gendered language use

Difference between speaking times of women and men

Researcher study thyselfThis research compares speaking times and turns of female and male presenters and audience members at an annual researchers meeting. Results showed that men spoke longer than women during the open discussion, both when asking questions or posing comments. Also, men more often than women continued speaking even when they knew their allotted time was up. Read the full article including the implications and recommendations based on these results here

Wiest, L. R., Abernathy, T. V., Obenchain, K. M., & Major, E. M. (2006). Researcher study thyself: AERA participants' speaking times and turns by gender. Equity & Excellence in Education39(4), 313-323.

Children’s vocal control reveals implicit occupational stereotypes

This is what a mechanic sounds like

In a vocal imitation task children between the ages of 5 and 10 adjusted their voices to match gender-stereotypical expectations: masculinization (lowering the voice) when imitating a traditional male profession and feminization (voice height and resonance increase) for a traditional female profession. These voice adjustments increased with age, especially in boys, and were not explained by explicit stereotypical views of the children.


Cartei, V., Oakhill, J., Garnham, A., Banerjee, R., & Reby, D. (2020). “This is what a mechanic sounds like.” Children’s vocal control reveals implicit occupational stereotypes. Psychological Science,


Impact of language on gender equality

Gendering LanguageRead more here about the influence of grammatical conventions around gender in language on gender equality.




Prewitt-Freilino, J.L., Caswell, T.A. & Laakso, E.K. (2012). The gendering of language: A comparison of gender equality in countries with gendered, natural gender, and genderless languages. Sex Roles, 66, 268–281.

Newsletter "Gendered taalgebruik"

Read the newsletter (in Dutch) "Gendered taalgebruik" of 22 December 2015

Use of masculine words complicates selection of women

evidenceGaucher, D., Friesen, J, & Kay, A. C. (2011). Evidence that gendered wording in job advertisements exists and sustains gender equality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology101, 109-128.

In reference letters, men are more often described as 'excellent' compared to women

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Schmader, T., Whitehead, J., & Wysocki, V. H. (2007). A linguistic comparison of letters of recommendation for male and female chemistry and biochemistry job applicants, Sex Roles57, 509-514.

In personnel selection, negative assessments of women are described in a more abstract way and positive assessments are described in a more concrete way compared to men


Rubini, M. & Menegatti, M. (2014). Hindering women’s careers in academia: Gender linguistic bias in personnel selection. Journal of Language and Social Psychology33, 632-650.

The use of 'he' in the professional environment leads to feelings of exclusion and outflow of women.

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Stout, J. G., & Dasgupta, N. (2011). When he doesn’t mean you: Gender-exclusive language as ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin36, 757-769.