What is gender-free English?


Some airlines are abolishing the announcement Ladies and gentlemen at airports and on board. The reason is not gender-free. It seems that some people think that Ladies first is also outdated in order to create a society where everyone can act freely regardless of men or women. Therefore, I would like to see which expressions have gender bias in modern English and how to paraphrase them.

Table of contents
  • Let's hold down the basics of gender-friendly English expressions
  • From now on, let's use gender-free English expressions
  • If you want to practice gender-free English

Let's hold down the basics of gender-friendly English expressions

"Gender equality" is called gender equality, but in a gender-free society, there is a tendency to avoid categorizing gender into "male" and "female" as well as equality. Let's see what words are used when talking about gender.

gender- free

We 're moving toward a gender-free society.

Gender means "gender", and adding free means "no smoking, no smoking", and there are usages such as smoke-free (non-smoking) and tax-free (tax-free).

gender- neutral

We should use gender-neutral language. (We should use gender-neutral language.)

It means "applicable to both men and women" and "do not specify either". -neutral (neutral to) can be used like religion-neutral (religiously neutral), race-neutral (racially neutral).

gender equality

How can we achieve gender equality ?

equality is the noun "equality" and equal is the adjective "equal" or the verb "equal to".

gender bias

We should eliminate gender bias in the workplace .

Bias is "prejudice, prejudice". It is also used like media bias and bias against minorities.

A: How can we create a gender-neutral workplace ?

B: We should eliminate gender bias. Stop calling female employees “girls.” (Don't call female employees “girls”)

A: Right. That's a good start .

From now on, let's use gender-free English expressions

Just as "stewardess" has become "CA" and "flight attendant" in Japan, the expressions that identify men and women are no longer used in English. Let's see what kind of words should be used to paraphrase the expressions used so far.

Paraphrasing English expressions for greetings and honorific titles

△ Ladies and gentlemen, (Ladies and gentlemen,)

〇 Dear passengers, (passengers,)

〇 Dear customers,

Expressions used in airport and in-flight announcements. At parties and lectures, say Dear guests, (to our customers), Dear participants, (to our participants).

△ Mr. / Ms. / Mrs. / Miss.

〇 Mx. [Mix]

〇 Doctor / Director / Manager (Doctor / Doctor / Director / Manager)

Ms. was used instead of Mrs. and Miss. For women, but nowadays it can be used for anyone as it also identifies men and women. ]) Is a new word. Doctor can also be used for people with a PhD other than doctors, and you can also call them by job title, like Director Smith.

△ Hi, guys! (Hi everyone!)

〇 Hi, folks! (Hi, everyone!)

〇 Hi, everyone! (Hi, everyone!)

A guy that Americans often use. Although guys have been used for women, there is now a movement to use folks and everyone, which means "people."

Paraphrasing English expressions that refer to people

△ ladies (women)

〇everyone (everyone)

〇 all of you (everyone)

I used to use the term ladies to refer to a group of women, but it seems better to paraphrase this as everyone or all of you. The same is true for boys/girls. It's no longer necessary to let women go first through doors and elevators as Ladies First, but it's still nice to say After you. It remains a habit.

△ husband / wife (husband / wife)


〇spouse (spouse)

While there are same-sex couples, the terms husband and wife do not always apply, so the term partner is becoming more popular. The word spouse is also used when talking about family relationships.

△ mother / father


If the parents are a same-sex couple, they should be called parents (parents, singular form of parents <parents>) instead of being labeled as "father" or "mother".

△ he / she

〇 they (that person, that person)

There is a movement to use them even in the singular instead of he/she that distinguishes between men and women. The change in verbs is the same as for multiple they, for example, they are a teacher.

Paraphrasing English expressions such as occupation

△ policeman (police officer)

〇police officer

△ businessman

〇business person

△ fireman


△ chairman (Chairman)


The term -man is being paraphrased a lot. When you usually say "a good person", he should say "He's a good person." Instead of "He's a good man."

△ waiter / waitress

〇server (server, waiter)

△ actress

〇actor _

△ freshman (1st year university student)

〇 first-year student

△ housewife


-ess is an expression that refers to a woman, so it is becoming obsolete, and even actresses sometimes call it an actor.

Paraphrased English expressions used in society

△ manpower


△ man- made

〇artificial _

△ mother tongue (mother tongue)

〇native language

Conversation example

A: Hi, everyone. What's up today ?

B: You know what? David got married! (Did you know what? David got married!)

A: How amazing! What does the partner do ?

B: I heard they are a firefighter .

Not everyone in the English-speaking world has come to use these gender-free expressions, but it's worth remembering that some people are sensitive to gender-friendly paraphrases.