How women and men are addressed in job advertisements

Hodel, Lea; Formanowicz, Magdalena Maria; Sczesny, Sabine; Valdrova, Jana; von Stockhausen, Lisa (9 October 2013). How women and men are addressed in job advertisements (Unpublished). In: Small group meeting on Gender Equality in Organizations (EAWOP). Frankfurt a.M., Deutschland. 09.-11.10.2013.

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Research has shown that gender references in job advertisements play an important role for gender (in)equality in personnel selection. In advertisements gender is referred to in different ways, for instance, by using grammatically masculine and feminine human nouns (e.g., German Mechaniker/Mechanikerin 'mechanic, masc./fem.'), by mentioning typically feminine or typically masculine traits (e.g., kind and friendly versus determined and independent) as well as by showing pictures of women and men. The present study addresses the questions which forms of gender references occur in job advertisements, how these forms are distributed across different lines of business and across different countries. We collected job advertisements published online in four countries with different rankings of gender equality (i.e., Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Czech Republic; World Economic Forum, 2011). We randomly selected 100 advertisements per country from four lines of business that are characterized by different proportions of female and male employees: (1) steels/metals, (2) science, (3) restaurants/food services, and (4) health care. The advertisements were analyzed with regard to the linguistic form of the job title and of the remaining text as well as reference to gender-typical traits. We also examined indicators of job status and other information (e.g., equal opportunity policies) which might be related to the use of gender references in job advertisements. The results show that, in general, gender-fair language occurs much more often in job ads from Switzerland and Austria than in those from Poland and the Czech Republic, where job titles are mostly masculine. While exclusive use of feminine forms are almost never used in Switzerland and Austria, they are more frequently used in Poland and Czech Republic. In general, gender-fair forms are more common when there are many women in a line of business, whereas more masculine forms are used where the proportion of women is low. In Switzerland and Austria, masculine forms are mostly combined with the supplement m/f to indicate that both women and men are addressed. The present data provide a sound basis for future studies on gender references in job advertisements. Furthermore it sheds a light on how companies comply with national guidelines of gender equality.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Hodel, Lea, Formanowicz, Magdalena Maria, Sczesny, Sabine


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Irène Gonce-Gyr

Date Deposited:

30 May 2014 14:37

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31




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