Chicxs! The ease of gender-neutral language in English compared to Spanish

Stephen Devincenzi

An Englishman in Argentina. I'm a teacher and writer for the EnIngles blog. I cook a lot.

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4 Responses

  1. Most primitive/early forms of religion have a female “god” … the “earth mother”, etc.

    The worst gender-specific word in English is “secretary”.

    • Very true Daryl. Like the ‘Pachamama’ from South America. I would love to know how the world would have been different if these religions would have had such an impact on the world as Christianity, Islam and Judaism, that all have a masculine-figure God.

      Also, excellent point about ‘secretary’.

  2. Silvia Cryan says:

    Tell me if I’m wrong or did I get wrong, but there are male and female secretaries…aren’t they? But secretary would be then neutral

    • Hi Silvia! Great question.

      This is quite a specific case, and definitely one that can be seen as sexist.

      There are two distinct definitions of secretary. One is a person who helps another person in general administrative tasks. This can also be known as an assistant. The other definition is a person with a position of power in a business or organisation. For example, in Britain the heads of all government departments are known as ‘secretary’ (e.g. Foreign Secretary).

      Today, most female ‘secretaries’ probably have jobs following the first definition, whereas for men it would be more likely their jobs are of the second definition. So, although th word ‘secretary’ is gender-neutral, it still evokes a different idea when used for men or for women.

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