Side effects of gender-fair language: How feminine job titles influence the evaluation of female applicants

Magdalena Formanowicz , Sylwia Bedyńska , Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik , Frederike Braun , Sabine Sczesny


In many languages, feminization has been used as a strategy to make language more gender-fair, because masculine terms, even in a generic function, exhibit a male bias. Up to date, little is known about possible side effects of this language use, for example, in personnel selection. In three studies, conducted in Polish, we analyzed how a female applicant was evaluated in a recruitment process, depending on whether she was introduced with a feminine or masculine job title. To avoid influences from existing occupations and terms, we used fictitious job titles in Studies 1 and 2: diarolożka (feminine) and diarolog (masculine). In Study 3, we referred to existing occupations that varied in gender stereotypicality. In all studies, female applicants with a feminine job title were evaluated less favorably than both a male applicant (Study 1) and a female applicant with a masculine job title (Studies 1, 2, and 3). This effect was independent of the gender stereotypicality of the occupation (Study 3). Participants’ political attitudes, however, moderated the effect: Conservatives devaluated female applicants with a feminine title more than liberals (Studies 2 and 3). 
Author Magdalena Formanowicz (Wydział Psychologii)
Magdalena Formanowicz,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Sylwia Bedyńska (Wydział Psychologii)
Sylwia Bedyńska,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik
Aleksandra Cisłak-Wójcik,,
, Frederike Braun
Frederike Braun,,
, Sabine Sczesny
Sabine Sczesny,,
Journal seriesEuropean Journal of Social Psychology, ISSN 0046-2772, (A 25 pkt)
Issue year2013
Publication size in sheets0.5
ASJC Classification3207 Social Psychology
Languageen angielski
Formanowicz-2013.pdf of 14-09-2015
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Formanowicz-Bedynska-Cislak-Braun-Sczesny-2013-EJSP-p1.pdf of 14-09-2015
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Score (nominal)30
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2013 = 1.526; WoS Impact Factor: 2013 = 1.779 (2) - 2013=2.426 (5)
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