Gender neutrality in legal writing and research

The goal of using gender-neutral language is to refrain from or at least reduce the explicit or implicit references to sex or gender. As much as possible, the language to use should be inclusive so as not to make any presumptions about specific professions or traits. This gender-neutral language is called nonsexist or inclusive language.

Gender neutrality in legal writing and research

Married and maiden names Some critics oppose the practice of women changing their names upon marriage, on the grounds that it makes women historically invisible: Referring to women by their surname more will change this expectation pattern [21].

Problems and their resolution[ edit ] Main article: Gender-specific job title Gender-neutral job titles do not specify the gender of the person referred to, particularly when the gender is not in fact known, or is not yet specified as in job advertisements.

Examples include firefighter instead of fireman; flight attendant instead of steward or stewardess; bartender instead of barman or barmaid; and chairperson or chair instead of chairman or chairwoman. There are also cases where a distinct female form exists, but the basic or "male" form does not intrinsically indicate a male such as by including manand can equally well be applied to any member of the profession, whether male or female or of unspecified sex.

Examples include actor and actress; usher and usherette; comedian and comedienne.

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In such cases, proponents of gender-neutral language generally advocate the non-use of the distinct female form always using comedian gender neutrality in legal writing and research than comedienne, for example, even if the referent is known to be a woman.

Terms such as male nurse, male model or female judge are sometimes used in cases where the gender is irrelevant or already understood as in "my brother is a male nurse". Many advisors on non-sexist usage deprecate such phrasing, as it implies that someone of that gender is an inferior or atypical member of the profession.

Another deprecated form is the prefixing of an ordinary job title with lady, as in lady doctor: Generic words for humans[ edit ] Another issue for gender-neutral language concerns the use of the words man, men and mankind to refer to a person or persons of unspecified sex or to persons of both sexes.

gender neutrality in legal writing and research

Although the word man originally referred to both males and females, some feel that it no longer does so unambiguously. Anthony Trollopefor example, writes of "the infinite simplicity and silliness of mankind and womankind", [26] and when " Edmund Burkewriting of the French Revolutionused men in the old, inclusive way, he took pains to spell out his meaning: One author, ostensibly generalizing about all human beings, wrote: His back aches, he ruptures easily, his women have difficulties in childbirth Gender-specific and gender-neutral pronouns Another target of frequent criticism by proponents of gender-neutral language is the use of the masculine pronoun he and its derived forms him, his and himself to refer to antecedents of indeterminate gender.

Although this usage is traditional, its critics argue that it was invented and propagated by males, whose explicit goal was the linguistic representation of male superiority. Each of these alternatives has met with objections. Some feel the use of singular they to be a grammatical error, but according to most references, they, their and them have long been grammatically acceptable as gender-neutral singular pronouns in English, having been used in the singular continuously since the Middle Agesincluding by a number of prominent authors, such as Geoffrey ChaucerWilliam Shakespeareand Jane Austen.

The logical point that you, Holden Caulfieldand everyone but the language mavens intuitively grasp is that everyone and they are not an "antecedent" and a "pronoun" referring to the same person in the world, which would force them to agree in number.

They are a "quantifier" and a "bound variable", a different logical relationship. In this case, the X that comes back to a seat is the same X that owns the seat that X comes back to. The their there does not, in fact, have plural number, because it refers neither to one thing nor to many things; it does not refer at all.

Some, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, hold a neutral position on the issue, and contend that any approach used is likely to displease some readers. In some cases, laws exist regarding the use of gender-neutral language in certain situations, such as job advertisements.

Different authorities have presented guidelines on whether and how to use gender-neutral, or "non-sexist" language. Several are listed below:The use of gender-neutral language may seem unnecessary to some writers, but the consistent use of masculine pronouns leaves the impression that women could not be among the group to which the writer is referring.

Gender Neutral Language

A person who masters the basic rules of grammar, punctuation, and good writing is likely to impress his or her supervisors. . On June 26, , the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states.

Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and Washington DC, but was banned in the remaining Instead, a legal writer should strive to write in a gender-neutral manner that lets the audience focus on the purpose of the writing.

Thank you to my wonderful research assistants Court should be embracing gender-neutral language. Most modern legal writing texts and style manuals recommend that writers –88 () (noting that legal writers should use gender-neutral language because it is fairer, “more exact,” and "it benefits the writer's cause."). Gender neutrality should be used when speaking or writing to eliminate or reduce gender choices that constrains or stereotypes others. Keeping Gender Neutrality in Speaking and Writing. by Bernadine Racoma - July, 21 1 We are a global language translation company specialized in Human Translation Services for legal. Barbara Amaya is an award winning advocate, speaker, best selling author of Nobody's Girl, and a survivor of sex the age of twelve to twenty-two, Ms. Amaya was trafficked on the streets of New York City.

Avoid Self-Consciousness. Writers should not, however, flag their gender neutrality with self-conscious language. This simply creates another form of awkwardness that detracts from effective communication.

gender neutrality in legal writing and research

Most modern legal writing texts and style manuals recommend that writers use gender-neutral language. Gender-neutral language is achieved by avoiding the use of gendered generics (the use of masculine or feminine nouns .

Third gender or third sex is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor is also a social category present in societies that recognize three or more term third is usually understood to mean "other"; some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth, fifth, and "some" genders.

In professional writing, it is now considered good practice to write in gender-neutral terms. Honorifics Do not assume to know which honorific a .

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