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Warm-hearted businessmen, competitive housewives? Effects of gender-fair language on adolescents' perceptions of occupations.

Vervecken D, Gygax PM, Gabriel U, Guillod M, Hannover B - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: In a sample of 222 adolescents (aged 12-17) from French speaking Switzerland, we found that pair forms attenuated the difference in the ascription of success to male and female jobholders in gendered occupations and attenuated the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical jobholders in male vs. female dominated jobs.However, no effect of language form on the ascription of competence was found.These findings suggest that language policies are an effective tool to impact gendered perceptions, however, they also hint at competence-related gender stereotypes being in decline.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Karel de Grote University College, Antwerp Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Recent studies from countries with grammatical gender languages (e.g., French) found both children and adults to more frequently think of female jobholders and to consider women's success in male dominated occupations more likely when the jobs were described in pair forms (i.e., by explicit reference to male and female jobholders, e.g., inventeuses et inventeurs; French feminine and masculine plural forms for inventors), rather than masculine only forms (e.g., inventors). To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we systematically varied the gender connotation of occupations (males overrepresented, females overrepresented, equal share of males and females) and measured additional dependent variables, predicting that gender fair language would reduce the impact of the gender connotation on participants' perceptions. In a sample of 222 adolescents (aged 12-17) from French speaking Switzerland, we found that pair forms attenuated the difference in the ascription of success to male and female jobholders in gendered occupations and attenuated the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical jobholders in male vs. female dominated jobs. However, no effect of language form on the ascription of competence was found. These findings suggest that language policies are an effective tool to impact gendered perceptions, however, they also hint at competence-related gender stereotypes being in decline.

No MeSH data available.


Mean scores on the warmth dimension for occupations with different gender distributions.
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Figure 2: Mean scores on the warmth dimension for occupations with different gender distributions.

Mentions: In summary, when occupations were presented in a pair form rather than in the masculine form only, the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical job holders of male dominated, female dominated, and gender-neutral occupations was attenuated, regardless of participants’ age and gender. As apparent in Figure 2, the effect of linguistic form on warmth-related attributions mirrors the pattern of linguistic form on gendered representations of women’s and men’s success.


Warm-hearted businessmen, competitive housewives? Effects of gender-fair language on adolescents' perceptions of occupations.

Vervecken D, Gygax PM, Gabriel U, Guillod M, Hannover B - Front Psychol (2015)

Mean scores on the warmth dimension for occupations with different gender distributions.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585286&req=5

Figure 2: Mean scores on the warmth dimension for occupations with different gender distributions.
Mentions: In summary, when occupations were presented in a pair form rather than in the masculine form only, the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical job holders of male dominated, female dominated, and gender-neutral occupations was attenuated, regardless of participants’ age and gender. As apparent in Figure 2, the effect of linguistic form on warmth-related attributions mirrors the pattern of linguistic form on gendered representations of women’s and men’s success.

Bottom Line: In a sample of 222 adolescents (aged 12-17) from French speaking Switzerland, we found that pair forms attenuated the difference in the ascription of success to male and female jobholders in gendered occupations and attenuated the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical jobholders in male vs. female dominated jobs.However, no effect of language form on the ascription of competence was found.These findings suggest that language policies are an effective tool to impact gendered perceptions, however, they also hint at competence-related gender stereotypes being in decline.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Karel de Grote University College, Antwerp Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Recent studies from countries with grammatical gender languages (e.g., French) found both children and adults to more frequently think of female jobholders and to consider women's success in male dominated occupations more likely when the jobs were described in pair forms (i.e., by explicit reference to male and female jobholders, e.g., inventeuses et inventeurs; French feminine and masculine plural forms for inventors), rather than masculine only forms (e.g., inventors). To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we systematically varied the gender connotation of occupations (males overrepresented, females overrepresented, equal share of males and females) and measured additional dependent variables, predicting that gender fair language would reduce the impact of the gender connotation on participants' perceptions. In a sample of 222 adolescents (aged 12-17) from French speaking Switzerland, we found that pair forms attenuated the difference in the ascription of success to male and female jobholders in gendered occupations and attenuated the differential ascription of warmth to prototypical jobholders in male vs. female dominated jobs. However, no effect of language form on the ascription of competence was found. These findings suggest that language policies are an effective tool to impact gendered perceptions, however, they also hint at competence-related gender stereotypes being in decline.

No MeSH data available.