There has been some research on the effect of gender-neutral language on gender stereotypes. For instance, Lindqvist et al. (2017) studied the effect of gendered and non-gendered pronouns on participants classification of candidates to a real estate position. They concluded that explicitly created gender-neutral pronouns, such as the Swedish hen or the English ze, were more effective at reducing bias in favor of men than pre-existing neutral alternatives.

That research, and some similar studies, focuses on gender bias in situations where the subject's gender is unknown.

However, has there been any research on the effect of gender-neutral language on gender stereotypes for people with binary gender identities whose gender is known? For instance, whether talking about a woman with a gendered pronoun ("she") activates gendered stereotypes more than talking about them with a non-gendered description ("they," "the scientist"). Has this research established or not established any effect?


Lindqvist, A., Renström, E. A., & Sendén, M. G. (2019). Reducing a male bias in language? Establishing the efficiency of three different gender-fair language strategies. Sex Roles, 81(1), 109-117. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-018-0974-9

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sendén et al (2015) also suggests Sweden is the first country to adopt a third pronoun (hen) which is interesting. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 6:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I am aware of that. It is one of the first ones to adopt a neopronoun, to be precise. $\endgroup$
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 6:22


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.