Exercise in Eliminating Gender-Biased Language

Practice in Recognizing Sexist Language and Avoiding It in Your Writing

Exercise in eliminating gender bias in language
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This exercise will give you practice in recognizing sexually biased language and avoiding it in your writing. Before attempting the exercise, you may find it helpful to review the following short articles:

 

Instructions

Consider how the following sentences reinforce sexual stereotypes by their reliance on gender-biased language. Then revise the sentences to eliminate the bias.

When you have completed the exercise, compare your revised sentences with the sample answers on page two.

 

  1. To a woman who possesses the necessary qualifications, nursing offers a life of unusual interest and usefulness. She will have limitless opportunities to improve herself and to help others.
  2. Each laboratory assistant must perform the experiment at least once before he teaches it to the class.
  3. The priest asked, "Are you ready to love and honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?"
  4. No matter how busy he is, a pilot should take time to thank the stewardesses at the end of every flight.
  5. My grandparents' days consist of waiting by the window for someone to come up the walk--whether friend, mailman, or salesman.
  6. The female lawyer conceded that her client was no Mother Teresa.
  7. In some cases, if your insurance has been slow in paying and your doctor has his lab work done away from his office, you may receive a bill from a laboratory you have never heard of. If this happens, call your doctor's billing secretary and ask her to tell you exactly what the bill is for.
  1. Though occasionally she may be called on to help others in the office, a secretary should take orders only from the manager she supports.
  2. The beginning student should spend his time becoming familiar with primary rather than secondary texts, with classics rather than with books about classics.
  3. The shift from animal and muscle power to machine power was a major achievement for man.

    Here are sample answers to the exercise on page one: Eliminating Gender-Biased Language.

    1. To those people who possess the necessary qualifications, nursing offers a life of unusual interest and usefulness. They will have limitless opportunities to improve themselves and to help others.
    2. Each laboratory assistant must perform the experiment at least once before teaching it to the class.
    3. The priest asked, "Are you ready to love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?"
    1. No matter how busy the pilots are, they should take time to thank the flight attendants at the end of every flight.
    2. My grandparents' days consist of waiting by the window for someone to come up the walk--whether friend, mail carrier, or salesperson.
    3. The lawyer conceded that her client was no Mother Teresa.
    4. In some cases, if your insurance has been slow in paying and your doctor's lab work is done away from the office, you may receive a bill from a laboratory you have never heard of. If this happens, call your doctor's billing office and ask exactly what the bill is for.
    5. Though occasionally they may be called on to help others in the office, secretaries [or assistants] should take orders only from the managers they support.
    6. Beginning students should spend their time becoming familiar with primary rather than secondary texts, with classics rather than with books about classics.
    7. The shift from animal and muscle power to machine power was a major achievement for humanity.