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Note 79 – Be sensitive when referring to genders

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 79, then please read on…

Be sensitive when referring to genders

It’s not always fair to only use the pronouns he or him when referring to both sexes in a piece of writing.  The purpose of this blog is to show you how the use of other pronouns, can make your writing more sensitive.

Consider the following:

Project manager required.  He should be a qualified accountant and have at least three year’s experience. 

If you were female would you apply for this role?  Two other ways to rewrite this sentence are:

  • Project manager required.  He or she should be a qualified accountant and have at least three year’s experience. 
  • Project manager required.  They should be a qualified accountant and have at least three year’s experience.

In Little Red Writing Book, Brandon Royal explains that you could also use he and she alternately if they are used throughout a longer document but this could get confusing to the reader.

Brandon Royal also lists many masculine generic words such as fireman, landlord, and man-hours where there are obvious suitable alternatives: firefighter, land owner and work-hours.  Similarly there are feminine generic ones such as housewife, cleaning lady and stewardess – which he suggests can also be called homemaker, housekeeper and flight attendant.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this.  I blog daily so please don’t forget to come back tomorrow to learn more.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Brandon Royal (2004) The Little Red Writing Book, USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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