How Does Language Affect Gender Inequality?

1572 WordsMay 6, 20157 Pages
The English language has been used to convey meaning and purpose to individuals within society. The development of language as a reflection of the structure and hierarchy of society is believed to give purpose and place members within the community. Over time, what has been understood to be experienced is the way in which it may be construed to posit one gender over another. One example is the way in which language can be used to position females in a lesser or subordinate role. This essay will argue that language continues to be used to create gender inequality. Doing this through a process of stereotyping and social construction, females are placed in a less important role to that of males. Thus positing males in a ruling or patriarchal position over females. The essay will do this by reviewing the history of language in Australia, the Suffragette movement and Gender-Fair Language. Women were ranked as second class citizens at the establishment of Australia as a colony. As Hassan expressed it, “From the very onset, convict women had three possible roles open to them: whore, indentured worker, wife/mistress or a combination of these” (Hassan, 2012). Language has been considered to be used to assign a lesser degree of significance to women than to men; where gender specific masculine and feminine words are used to describe the work provided by women as being lower or demeaning as compared to that of a man. As an example of this there are such comparable words as
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