20 words that are turning women away from jobs

31st May 2016

Would the use of gendered wording in a job advert put you off applying?

According to research, women are less likely to apply for jobs that include words associated with male stereotypes in the description.

Proving that gendered wording in job advertisements exists and sustains gender inequality, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicated that job ads for male-dominated areas used greater masculine wording than adverts within female-dominated areas. There was, however, no difference in the presence of feminine wording across male and female-dominated areas.
The consequences of highly masculine wording were tested across three experimental studies. When job advertisements were constructed to include more masculine than feminine wording, participants perceived more men within these occupations, and importantly, women found these jobs less appealing.

Here are 20 of the masculine-oriented words listed in the 2011 study:

  1. Active
  2. Adventurous
  3. Aggressive
  4. Ambitious
  5. Analytical
  6. Assertive
  7. Autonomous
  8. Athletic
  9. Boasts
  10. Challenge
  11. Decisive
  12. Dominant
  13. Force
  14. Greedy
  15. Headstrong
  16. Hostile
  17. Lead
  18. Objective
  19. Outspoken
  20. Superior

For any employers concerned that their jobs descriptions might be sexist, check out this gender decoder app.