Gender-Biased Language in Research

Language shapes attitudes, perceptions, expectations, precision of findings, and directives. In a time when women have achieved significant strides across many fields and female national leadership continues to grow, there is a need to revisit gender-biased language in research. Language bias is the subtle and overt use of words that overemphasize, exclude, invalidate, or subsume various groups and subgroups (e.g., age, disability, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender) through word usage. This entry first reviews historical and current contexts and then examines gender bias in research training. The entry concludes with recommendations for avoiding gender-biased language in research.

Historical Context

An analysis of historical context supports a long-standing bias of excluding women through the use of pseudogeneric “he” or “man” to refer to all individuals (e.g., mankind). ...

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