How can we communicate in a gender-neutral way? Yesterday a site promoting academic rigour with journalistic flair gave some top tips:

• Recasting gender-bias words (chairman becomes chairperson, man-made/artificial, foreman/supervisor)

• Using plurals (‘The modern plumber knows he cannot neglect the paperwork’ becomes ‘Modern plumbers know they cannot neglect the paperwork’)

• Repeating the noun (‘The builder will find all the traditional lines… we have taken the opportunity to expand the product range, giving him or her more, not fewer, resources’ becomes ‘The builder will find all the traditional lines... we have taken the opportunity to expand the product range, giving the builder more, not fewer, resources’)

• Omitting the gender-specific pronoun/s (‘The average student may end up spending too much of his money’ becomes ‘The average student may end up spending too much money’)

• Replacing third-person pronouns with second-person pronouns (‘He or she must clean up the conference room at the end of each meeting’ becomes ‘You must clean up the conference room at the end of each meeting’)

• Replacing third-person pronouns with indefinite articles - a, an - or definite articles - the (‘The manager or his assistant’ becomes ‘The manager or an assistant’)

 

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