Debates about using masculine or gender-neutral words to describe leadership positions, jobs and awards affect nearly all domains of society from business to politics and media. Recently, local politicians have considered changing titles such as “alderman” or “councilman” to their gender-neutral counterparts (e.g., “council member”). While some dismiss calls for gender-neutral titles as mere acts of political correctness, proponents argue that masculine language is not a neutral stand-in for “person” or “leader.” Instead, masculine language may undermine women’s leadership by reinforcing harmful stereotypes that positions of power are reserved for men.
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