Simplifier in Science, Technology, and Life

Social Psychology

Gender Equality in Communication and Language

Male and Female Signage on Wall

Men surely often do. Even women often use “him” when the gender of subject is not known. Through the ages women seem to have accepted these norms whether they like it or not. A customer or an engineer becomes a “him” by default. A receptionist, an assistant, a teacher becomes “her”. “Air Host” is barely even a word [1-5].

I used to regret this as a flaw in the English language [6] (albeit there are efforts for solving [7-8]). Now I feel that this weakness of the language is a constant reminder of a much bigger problem in the society! We have a long way to go before gender neutrality is achieved [9].

Let’s start using the pronouns right. An easy way is to use gender-neutral plural pronouns (they, them …) instead of singular ones (her, him, …).

Women are on the rise, a trend we would like to continue to see and rather accelerate. We still have a long way to go in this, in the developing and underdeveloped countries and cultures if not everywhere.

I am familiar with the history too, albeit vaguely, and understand where we have come from. In fact, I feel that our species at the cusp of significant unprecedented changes, in multiple respects. Today, men have as much an onus for empowering women as the fathers have for raising children. Men and women are together in bringing about gender equality and clearing the society of biases and imbalances.

This is not to suggest of course that women need help from men as a requirement for this to happen. I admire and appreciate women who rise on their own, achieve and influence the society back, and the same for men. I also praise those who achieve the same with social help, including from men. I see no harm in cooperation, no harm in standing on the shoulders of each other. We are not in a competition.

There has been a saying, behind every successful man is a woman (not always true). Why shouldn’t men also be behind the success of women. It will be a moment of pride for me when that other saying becomes a norm and just as common.

Pronouns are surely a petty thing in the picture. We must not fix these petty things if at the expense of the bigger ones. Otherwise, we should pay attention to the small things too. And why not, especially when it is not as hard to.


[1] “Air hostesses and their male counterparts … [Link]
[4] The above websites don’t have any matching article for “air hosts.”
[5] “Flight attendants” is used in some cultures to avoid discrimination.
[6] No common gender-neutral singular third-person pronouns (she, he, her, him, it)

Cover Photo: Pexels

{Originally posted on LinkedIn (16 likes, 3 comments)}

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