Wednesday, January 8, 2014
In past years, gender was strictly a grammatical term. It is now used for a person's sex. Here I use the word in this latter sense. Each of the following phrases has a distinct but related meaning: 1. Gender preference. Although this may be illegal, as in employment advertising, the concept certainly exists. I recently used the idea for myself, making a list of what I was looking for, in an opening for live-in help. I was open to the idea of a man, but thought it probable that we would be selecting a female. 2. Gender equality We still have a long way to go to reach this ideal, in which a person's gender is irrelevant. 3. Gender balance. When males and females are both eligible for positions in (say) a company, one achieves gender balance by arranging for the successful applicants to be roughly in proportion to the respective genders. 4. Gender neutrality. This is an ideal which is seldom achieved. A person's gender is simply not considered, one way or another. A potential problem is that this may give the perception that the result is out of desirable balance.