Hiring Guide: The Gender Decoder Tool and Gender Code Words

The Gender Decoder tool was inspired by a research paper written by Danielle Gaucher, Justin Friesen, and Aaron C. Kay back in 2011, titled Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2011, Vol 101(1), p109-28).

In this paper the researchers showed job adverts which included different kinds of gender-coded language to men and women and recorded how appealing the jobs seemed and how much the participants felt that they 'belonged' in that occupation. No non-binary people were included in this research, and the research didn't touch on non-binary-coded words.

Their results showed that women felt that job adverts with masculine-coded language were less appealing and that they belonged less in those occupations. For men, feminine-coded adverts were only slightly less appealing and there was no effect on how much the men felt they belonged in those roles.

Below are the full lists of words that this research considered masculine- and feminine-coded. The Gender Decoder tool checks job adverts for the appearance of any of these words, then calculates the relative proportion of masculine-coded and feminine-coded words to reach an overall verdict on the gender-coding of the advert. Some words have been reduced to a 'stem' to cover a range of noun, verb and adjective variants; for instance, "compet" covers "compete", "competitive" and "competition".

To use the Gender Decoder tool, click on link within the text, and for more information regarding this tool, including a Frequently Asked Questions page, visit the Katmatfield site at http://gender-decoder.katmatfield.com/faq.

Masculine-Coded words

Active-
Adventurous-
Aggress-
Ambitio-
Analy-
Assert-
Athlet-
Autonom-
Battle-
Boast-
Challeng-
Champion-
Compet-
Confident-
Courag-
Decid-
Decision-
Decisive-
Defend-
Determin-
Domina-
Dominant-
Driven-
Fearless-
Fight-
Force-
Greedy-
Head-strong-
Headstrong-
Hierarch-
Hostil-
Impulsive-
Independent-
Individual-
Intellect
Lead-
Logic-
Objective-
Opinion-
Outspoken-
Persist-
Principle-
Reckless-
Self-confiden-
Self-relian-
Self-sufficien-
Selfconfiden-
Selfrelian-
Selfsufficien-
Stubborn-
Superior-
Unreasonab-

Feminine-Coded Words

Agree-
Affectionate-
Child-
Cheer-
Collab-
Commit-
Communal-
Compassion-
Connect-
Considerate-
Cooperat-
Co-operat-
Depend-
Emotiona-
Empath-
Feel-
Flatterable-
Gentle-
Honest-
Interpersonal-
Interdependen-
Interpersona-
Inter-personal-
Inter-dependen-
Inter-persona-
Kind-
Kinship-
Loyal-
Modesty-
Nag-
Nurtur-
Pleasant-
Polite-
Quiet-
Respon-
Sensitiv-
Submissive-
Support-
Sympath-
Tender-
Together-
Trust
Understand-
Warm-
Whin-
Enthusias-
Inclusive-
Yield
Share-
Sharin-