Gender bias in the English language?

Lizabeth M. Sankis, Elizabeth M. Corbitt, Thomas A. Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A biased representation of the desirability of the masculine and feminine trait terms included within a questionnaire can compel test respondents to characterize males and females in a comparably biased manner. The current study assessed whether the English language might itself contain more male-valued or female-valued terms. Ratings of desirability, masculinity, and femininity were obtained on a representative sample of 1,710 trait terms. The results suggested that the language is not itself gender neutral, in that it does appear to have more female-valued than male-valued terms. However, the language might not be described as biased if this is an accurate representation of the traits exhibited by males and females and the desirability of the traits. Implications of the results for the assessment and diagnosis of personality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1289-1295
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender bias in the English language?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this