Date of Award

7-27-2018

Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Psychology

First Advisor

John B. Pryor

Second Advisor

Eric D. Wesselmann

Abstract

Gender-exclusive language is a type of subtly sexist language that makes reference to a single gender group thereby excluding other gender groups (Stout & Dasgupta, 2011). Two studies examined how the use of gender-exclusive language impacts the experiences of women who were elected members of county boards. Specifically, the studies surveyed county board members in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin to determine whether the naturally occurring variation between the use of gender-exclusive language (e.g., using chairman to indicate both men and women) or gender-neutral language (e.g., chair or chairperson) was related to perceptions of ostracism and a sense of empowerment among female board members.

Results indicated a relationship between the masculine generic linguistic biases (e.g., using chairman to refer to the presiding officers instead of chair or chairperson) and the overall representation of general female members as well as female leadership representation on county boards (i.e., boards using gender-exclusive language had fewer general members as well as female leaders). Additional analyses revealed that women who served on county boards that used gender-exclusive language in referring to their presiding officers reported having less power and feeling that their voices were not being heard in comparison to women who served on boards using gender-neutral language; these perceptions were in turn related to women’s feeling ostracized. Those who felt less power and less voice felt more ostracized.

Comments

Imported from ProQuest Grzybowski_ilstu_0092N_11305.pdf

DOI

http://doi.org/10.30707/ETD2019.Grzybowski.M

Page Count

57

Share

COinS