Theresa Redl will defend her thesis on Thursday January 21st 2021

12 January 2021
Theresa Redl will defend her dissertation called “Masculine generic pronouns: Investigating the processing of an unintended gender cue” on Thursday January 21st, 2021 at 12:30. Unfortunately, only a small number of guests can be admitted to the aula due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you are more than welcome to join the live-stream.

Link to live-stream

We often use grammatically masculine words when talking about people in general. For example, a university expects every PhD student to defend his dissertation and that he does so in public (but female PhD students are of course expected to hold a defense, too). This generic use of masculine pronouns such as Dutch hij ‘he’ and zijn ‘his’ is at the core of Theresa Redl’s dissertation. A series of experiments investigated if reading such sentences leads to a male bias and makes us imagine the PhD students in the sentence above as men, or if we interpret such sentences as intended – namely as gender-neutral. The results for zijn ‘his’ showed that men often experience a male bias, but women do not. The pronoun hij ‘he’, however, led to a male bias for both women and men. This shows that the generic or “gender-neutral” use of masculine pronouns often makes only men visible and excludes others.

Share this page