There Are More Women in Joggeur·euses Than in Joggeurs: On the Effects of Gender-Fair Forms on Perceived Gender Ratios in French Role Nouns

About this Session


Fri. 08.04. 15:15



Speaker: Julia Tibblin, Co-Authors: Jonas Granfeldt, Pascal Gygax, Joost van de Weijer Abstract: In French, psycholinguistic studies have shown that the generic use of the masculine gender results in a male bias in mental representations of gender. To counteract this effect, French speakers have begun using various gender-fair forms like joggeur·euses, joggeuses et joggeurs or un groupe de jogging. With the aim of investigating the influence of four different gender-fair forms, as compared to the masculine one, on perceived gender proportions of a role noun, we analysed 1,018 native French speakers’ estimated percentage of women in 22 role nouns. The results showed that all kinds of gender-fair forms significantly increased the estimated percentage of women in comparison to the masculine form and that no gender-fair form was significantly more efficient than any other. In addition, we found a somewhat surprising result: the more positive a participant’s attitudes towards gender-fair language were, the lower was their estimated percentage of women. We believe that participants who estimated lower percentages of women are the ones who believe gender-fair language is necessary and therefore hold more positive attitudes. Thus, the decrease in the estimated percentages would rather be the cause of the positive attitudes than an effect of them. To conclude, the results present strong arguments in favor of gender-fair language and underline the necessity of further investigations into the role of attitudes in relation to perceived gender ratios and gender-fair language.