the fivesquid guide to gender neutral job titles and salutations 

Some say political correctness has gone mad, others see it as vital and some, just aren’t that bothered. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, or if you’re sitting on it - knowing the correct way to address people from all walks of life is important. Understanding what some of the now commonplace salutations and titles mean could help you from getting egg on your face and coming across as old fashioned or out of touch. Here at fivesquid we’ve researched the area of gender neutral titles and as we’re the sharing type, we’re going to reveal all with our guide to gender neutral job titles and salutations.  

Gender neutral job titles: 

We think it’s a given that all jobs can be done by all people regardless of gender, therefore job titles should reflect that and remain gender-neutral, and we've got some examples: 

  • Airline steward or stewardess - flight attendant 
  • Chairman/woman - chair person or chair
  • Chambermaid - housekeeper
  • Girl Friday - assistant / PA
  • Handyman- maintenance person
  • Headmaster - principal
  • Hostess - host
  • Housewife - homemaker
  • Layman - layperson

Salutations / personal titles: 

Knowing what to use can be a bit of a nightmare, as what works for one person can offend another. Our recommendation is that if at all possible, make sure you gather the correct title whilst gathering contact information. 

  • Mx: an be used for either sex and regardless of marital status - this is the only gender neutral salutation with the exception of Dr and the like. 
  • Miss: an unmarried woman
  • Mrs: A married woman 
  • Ms: a woman that is either married or unmarried 
  • Master: Not used that often these days, but a title used for young men
  • Mr: A title for a man regardless of marital status

Gender neutral phrases / terminology:

Our research also lead us to gender neutral phrases which, to be honest, we hadn't really considered; but it’s worth our freelance writers bearing in mind that if a phrase involves singling out a gender, perhaps an alternative should be used. 

  • Fraternal twins - non-identical twins 
  • Fatherland - home land 
  • Gentleman’s agreement - unwritten agreement
  • To man - to operate 
  • Man’s best friend - dog 
  • Manhandle - rough up 
  • Man-hours - work hours
  • Mankind - human kind
  • Sportsmanlike - sporting 

 

The list of gender neutral titles, salutations and terminology is massive and how far you decide to take it is really up to you, but in today’s world being gender neutral is becoming 'de rigueur'. We think this is easy to achieve as well, and our research shows it’s not such a minefield after all. If a turn of phrase or title has gender identifying words it should be replaced with something gender neutral. And if you’re not sure on what title or salutation to use, just ask - we’d imagine most people would rather you ask then guess and get it wrong. 

 

 

 

fivesquid
@fivesquid