Nordisk konferens om språk och kön

Den 20-21 oktober besökte Anna och Emma den tionde nordiska konferensen om språk och kön, som den här gången hölls i Akureyri. Vi presenterade en av de studier där vi visat att hen tycks kunna minska den manliga bias som finns i språket.

Hen might reduce the male bias in the Swedish language

Abstract. In Swedish, the gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun ‘hen’ has been introduced, existing parallel with the two pronouns representing ‘she’ and ‘he’. One argument against the use of hen, is that there already exist gender neutral words in the Swedish language – hence no new words are needed, it is argued. However, earlier research on assumed gender-neutral words have identified a strong male bias, meaning that so-called neutral words are not perceived as neutral, but associated with masculinity. We examine if ‘hen’ more effectively can reduce the male bias, compared to other grammatically gender-neutral, and historically older, Swedish words. In one social psychological experiment, framed as a recruitment study, the 276 participants read about a job candidate applying for a gender-neutral position (in terms of gender distribution) as real-estate agent. The candidate was referred to as one of four gender-neutral words: ‘the applicant’ (den sökande), ‘the person’ (personen), the new gender-neutral third-person pronoun singular ‘hen’, or the impersonal pronoun singular ‘it’ (den; sometimes used as a gender-neutral personal pronoun). When having read the description, the participants were asked to choose what photo they believed showed the candidate, from four choices (two women and two men). Results show that ‘hen’ was the only condition not affected by a male bias: Most participants associated ‘the applicant’ (68 %), ‘the person’ (71 %) and ‘den’ (63 %) with a masculine gender, compared to the participants reading about ‘hen’ (52%). In sum, ‘hen’ seems to be genuinely gender neutral, compared to other “neutral” paraphrases, and could thereby be used to reduce gender bias in language.

International Convention of Psychological Science

I helgen var Anna, Hellen och Marie i Wien för att presentera två studier om hen på ICPS (International Convention of Psychological Science). Klicka på respektive titel för att ladda ner postern i pdf-format.

Breaking gender and heterosexuality norms predicts positive attitude toward gender-neutral pronoun in Swedish
Vergoossen, H. P., Bäck, E. A., Lindqvist, A., Gustafsson Sendén, M.

Could hen reduce the gender bias in the Swedish language?
Lindqvist, A., Bäck, E. A., Gustafsson Sendén, M.

Hen har varit på konferens


I slutet av maj åkte Anna, Emma och Marie till Chicago för att presentera två studier om hen APS (Association for Psychological Science, 28th Annual Convention):

Predictors of the usage of and the attitudes toward a new gender-neutral pronoun (Bäck, Lindqvist, Vergoossen, Gustafsson Sendén)
Participants (n=1331) responded to a questionnaire about attitudes towards the recently introduced Swedish gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’. Results showed that almost all participants used the word themselves, although the attitudes varied. Age, political views and sexism were identified as the most important factors when predicting attitudes and frequency of use.
[klicka här för att ladda ner poster]

Contemporary Arguments Against Gender-Neutral Language (Vergoossen, Bäck, Lindqvist, Gustafsson Sendén)
Arguments against a current language reform in Swedish – the introduction of a gender-neutral third personal pronoun as a complement to she and he – were analyzed and compared to previous arguments against the introduction of double forms (he/she) in English. Although the reforms differ, the arguments are surprisingly similar.
[klicka här för att ladda ner poster]